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Hitler - Beast of Berlin (1939)

Approved | | Drama, War | 8 October 1939 (USA)
Hans Memling, a young intellectual, patriotic German, is secretly opposed to the Nazi regime. With the aid of Gustav Schultz, Father Pommer, Anna Wahl and others, he is gleaning accurate ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Sherman Scott)

Writers:

(story "Goose Step"), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Elsa Memling
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Anna Wahl
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Karl Bach (as Allan Ladd)
Lucien Prival ...
Sachs
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Lustig - Beer Garden Bartender
John Ellis ...
Gustav Schultz
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Wunderlich
Bodil Rosing ...
Frau Kohler
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Albert Stalhelm - Storm Trooper (as Hans von Twardowski)
Willy Kaufman ...
Herr Kohler (as Willie Kaufman)
Hans Joby ...
Hermann Lippert
Frederick Giermann ...
Father Pommer
Crane Whitley ...
Klee (as Clem Wilenchick)
Henry Zynda ...
Erlich (as Henry von Zynda)
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Storyline

Hans Memling, a young intellectual, patriotic German, is secretly opposed to the Nazi regime. With the aid of Gustav Schultz, Father Pommer, Anna Wahl and others, he is gleaning accurate information from foreign radio broadcasts and distributing it through Germany with an underground-press operation. He convinces his brother-in-law Karl Bach, the brother of his wife Elsa, that Hitler is leading Germany toward a second world war. Karl, in love with Anna, joins the movement, determined to restore German culture and save the people from the brutality of the Storm Troopers and the Gestapo. The group has an inside link through Albert Stalhelm, a Storm Trooper and one of Hitler's Elite Guards. Albert is sickened by the brutalities he sees and wants to resign and flee Germany, but Hans persuades him to remain until they can find a replacement. He agrees, but warns the group that he is forced to join in the Nazi orgies and liquor loosens his tongue. Elsa is about to have a baby and lives in ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

CIVILIZATION ON THE BRINK OF DISASTER...AS A MONSTER RAVISHES A CONTINENT See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beasts of Berlin  »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richmond, Virginia, Thursday, November 9, 1939: The Virginia State Board of Censorship has given its approval of the film, "Hitler - Beast of Berlin," to be shown in this state. The decision was made after three days of deliberation and after the board had screened it twice. New York City, Thursday, November 9, 1939: "Hitler - Beast of Berlin," controversial film being distributed by Producers Distributing Corporation, has been passed by the National Board of Review and given a Mature-Audience rating, it was learned yesterday. Hollywood, California, Thursday, Noverber 9, 1939: "Hitler - Beast of Berlin," has been booked by the Wilmer & Vincent circuit in the following Pennsylvania cities: Altoona, Johnstown, Harrisburg, Easton, Reading, Allentown, and in Norfork and Richmond, Virginia. Detroit, Michigan, Thursday, November 9, 1939: Police Sergeant Charles W. Snyder, Detroit police censor, has okayed "Hitler - Beast of Berlin" for exhibition in Detroit. See more »

Goofs

Most of the swastika emblems are displayed backwards. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Although rather poorly made, it was a huge step for Hollywood.
15 December 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Despite the Nazis being horrid monsters, this side of Nazi Germany went unnoticed in American films until about 1939. This was for two reasons: Most Americans couldn't have cared less about conditions in Europe and the US Congress enacted legislation to force film studios to remain neutral about the brewing war. Eventually, in 1939 a few studios bravely made anti-Nazi films...but most of the American studios still said nothing--even after the Germans invaded Poland. In fact, American propaganda films on the Nazis really were a very rare thing until the US entered the war in late 1941. So, while "Beast of Berlin" is a pretty cheap little film, it has the distinction of being one of the first anti-Nazi films from the US. And, sadly, the man responsible for the film, according to IMDb, was soon forced out of the studio due to lousy box office returns on this film.

"Beast of Berlin" is based on the assumption that an anti-Hitler underground was alive and well in the country. While this might have been true around 1933-34 when the party took control, soon opposition to the regime virtually disappeared. So, the film centering on the opposition was, in a way, a bit of a myth--there unfortunately wasn't much opposition to him as the film would contend existed in 1938-39.

Among the man folks who work for the underground who eventually are caught and imprisoned is a young Alan Ladd. While he's really not the leading man in the film, he's emblazoned on posters of the film and gets top billing during its re-release due to Ladd becoming a big star in 1942. So, while you'll certainly get a lot of Ladd in the movie, it isn't really a starring vehicle.

In many ways, the film is interesting and worth seeing. Sure, the acting is occasionally uneven and the film could have been better, for Neufeld Productions, it was actually a bit better than usual for them! Certainly, it's not nearly as watchable and well made as other similar contemporary films like "Mortal Storm" and "Confessions of a Nazi Spy". Worth seeing nonetheless.


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