IMDb > Hangmen Also Die! (1943)
Hangmen Also Die!
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Hangmen Also Die! (1943) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.6/10   2,370 votes »
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Down 23% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Bertolt Brecht (adaptation) (original story) and
Fritz Lang (adaptation) (original story) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Hangmen Also Die! on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 April 1943 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Fritz Lang's masterpiece of intrigue and deception. See more »
Plot:
After the Nazi administrator of Czechoslovakia is shot, his assassin tries to elude the Gestapo and struggles with his impulse to give himself up as hostages are executed. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Gripping in its intensity See more (45 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Brian Donlevy ... Dr. Franticek Svoboda / Karel Vanek

Walter Brennan ... Prof. Stephen Novotny

Anna Lee ... Nasha Novotny

Gene Lockhart ... Emil Czaka
Dennis O'Keefe ... Jan Horak
Margaret Wycherly ... Ludmilla Novotny
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Hellie Novotny
William Roy ... Boda Novotny (as Billy Roy)
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ... Reinhard Heydrich
Alexander Granach ... Gestapo Insp. Alois Gruber
Tonio Selwart ... Chief of Gestapo Kurt Haas
Jonathan Hale ... Dedic

Lionel Stander ... Banya
Sarah Padden ... Mrs. Georgia Dvorak
Edmund MacDonald ... Dr. Pillar
Byron Foulger ... Bartos
Virginia Farmer ... Mrs. Nimitz
Ludwig Donath ... Schirmer (as Louis Donath)

George Irving ... Neeval
James Bush ... Peacock
Arno Frey ... Camp Lieutenant Itnut
Lester Sharpe ... Rudy
Arthur Loft ... Gen. Votruba
Reinhold Schünzel ... Gestapo Insp. Ritter
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

John Abbott ... Hostage (scenes deleted)
Louis Adlon ... Adjutant (uncredited)
Erville Alderson ... Liberal Official (uncredited)
Richard Alexander ... Slugger in Theater (uncredited)
Jack Alfred ... Busboy (uncredited)
Louis V. Arco ... Nazi Official (uncredited)
Florence Auer ... Czech Patriot (uncredited)
Felix Basch ... (uncredited)
Hank Bell ... Cabbie (uncredited)
William 'Billy' Benedict ... Kylar (uncredited)
Edna Bennett ... Pregnant Woman (uncredited)
Margaret Bert ... Market Woman (uncredited)
Lane Bradford ... Gestapo Officer (uncredited)
Harry C. Bradley ... Townsman (uncredited)
Frederic Brunn ... SS Officer (uncredited)
Willy Castello ... SS Guard (uncredited)
Richard Clarke ... Priest (uncredited)
Steve Clemente ... Knife Thrower (uncredited)
Chester Conklin ... Cook (uncredited)
Edith Conrad ... Woman in Audience (uncredited)
Max Davidson ... Bearded Man (uncredited)
Bryn Davis ... Girl (uncredited)
Earle S. Dewey ... Wine Waiter (uncredited)
James Dime ... Gestapo Detective (uncredited)
Lester Dorr ... Aldrich Krapke (uncredited)
Ralph Dunn ... Policeman (uncredited)
Gretl Dupont ... Angry Woman (uncredited)

Poldi Dur ... Slugger's Girlfriend in Theater (uncredited)
David Durand ... Bicycle Boy (uncredited)
James Eagles ... Svatak (uncredited)
Edward Earle ... Professor (uncredited)
Fern Emmett ... Peasant Woman (uncredited)
Fred Essler ... Dr. Kesselbach (uncredited)
William Farnum ... Viktorin (uncredited)
Betty Farrington ... Heavyset Woman (uncredited)

Dwight Frye ... Hostage (uncredited)
Hans Fuerberg ... Personal Adjutant (uncredited)
Jack George ... Polcar (uncredited)
Inna Gest ... Hatcheck Girl (uncredited)
George Guhl ... Workman (uncredited)
William Haade ... Mildrad (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Man at Briefing (uncredited)
Bud Jamison ... Fat Man (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Novak (uncredited)
Victor Kendall ... SS Leader (uncredited)
Manart Kippen ... Dovolga (uncredited)
Fred Kohler Jr. ... Czech Patriot (uncredited)
Kurt Kreuger ... Gestapo Officer (uncredited)
Rita La Roy ... Girl (uncredited)
Hope Landin ... Czech Patriot (uncredited)
Rolf Lindau ... De Lauge (uncredited)
Emmett Lynn ... Gerta (uncredited)
Robert Malcolm ... Czech Patriot (uncredited)

Claire McDowell ... Counterwoman (uncredited)
Paul McVey ... Jan Pestuca (uncredited)
John Meredith ... Czech Man (uncredited)
Philip Merivale ... Policeman (uncredited)
Louis Merrill ... Industrialist (uncredited)
Peter Michael ... SS Captain (uncredited)

Charles Middleton ... Patriot at Meeting with Svoboda (uncredited)
Robert Milasch ... Jewish Prisoner (uncredited)
Edwin Mills ... Eduard (uncredited)
Harold Minjir ... Butler (uncredited)
Frances Morris ... Dr. Svoboda's Nurse (uncredited)
George N. Neise ... Mueller (uncredited)
Carl Neubert ... Economist (uncredited)
Kurt Neumann ... SS Man (uncredited)
Manuel París ... Townsman on Street (uncredited)
John Piffle ... Industrialist (uncredited)
Russ Powell ... Tobacconist (uncredited)
Lucien Prival ... Policeman (uncredited)

Frank Reicher ... Interpreter (uncredited)
Otto Reichow ... Gestapo Agent Schultz (uncredited)
Albin Robeling ... Clerk (uncredited)
Ernest Roberts ... (uncredited)
Henry Roquemore ... Patriot at Meeting (uncredited)
Hans Schumm ... Sergeant (uncredited)
Janet Shaw ... Katerina Honiga (uncredited)
George Sherwood ... SS Lieutenant (uncredited)
Pietro Sosso ... Waiter (uncredited)
Robert R. Stephenson ... Nazi Guard in Visitors' Pen (uncredited)
Carl Stockdale ... Cigarette Smoker (uncredited)
Henry Sylvester ... Tall Czech (uncredited)
Forrest Taylor ... Pipe Smoker (uncredited)
Walter Thiele ... Police Official (uncredited)
Sigfrid Tor ... Gescky (uncredited)
Fred Trowbridge ... Man in Audience (uncredited)
Lisl Valetti ... Secretary (uncredited)
Philip Van Zandt ... Officer (uncredited)
Lucio Villegas ... Townsman at Briefing (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Hostage Wearing Glasses (uncredited)
Hans von Morhart ... Policeman (uncredited)
Sam Waagenaar ... SS Man (uncredited)
Fay Wall ... Secretary (uncredited)
Eddy Waller ... Hansom Cab Driver (uncredited)
Crane Whitley ... SS Headquarters Man (uncredited)
Guy Wilkerson ... Santrock (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... Ugly German Bodyguard (uncredited)

Directed by
Fritz Lang 
 
Writing credits
Bertolt Brecht (adaptation) (original story) (as Bert Brecht) and
Fritz Lang (adaptation) (original story)

John Wexley (screenplay)

Produced by
Theo. W. Baumfeld .... assistant producer (as T.W. Baumfeld)
Fritz Lang .... producer
Arnold Pressburger .... producer
 
Original Music by
Hanns Eisler 
 
Cinematography by
James Wong Howe 
 
Film Editing by
Gene Fowler Jr. 
 
Art Direction by
William S. Darling 
 
Makeup Department
Robert Stephanoff .... makeup artist (as Blagoe Stephanoff)
 
Production Management
Carley Harriman .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Walter Mayo .... assistant director
Fred Pressburger .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Julia Heron .... set dresser
 
Sound Department
Fred Lau .... sound
Jack Whitney .... sound
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ned Scott .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eleanor Behm .... dresses: Miss Lee
 
Music Department
Artur Guttmann .... conductor
 
Other crew
Max Pretzfelder .... technical advisor
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
USA:134 min (Turner library print) | France:117 min (DVD)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Australia:M | Finland:K-16 | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (re-rating) (2005) | USA:Approved

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The original titles for the project were "No Surrender" and "Never Surrender" They had to choose a new title because a book was published with a similar title during production. Producers held a contest among the cast and crew to choose a new title. A production secretary submitted the winning title and won $100.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: In reality, Heydrich was assassinated by a team of Czech exiles sent back to the country by the British government.See more »
Quotes:
Gestapo Insp. Alois Gruber:[Slamming his fist on the table] Miss Novotny, this time you're going to talk!See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Contempt (1963)See more »
Soundtrack:
No SurrenderSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
29 out of 37 people found the following review useful.
Gripping in its intensity, 31 December 1999
Author: Varlaam from Toronto, Canada

In 1942, the Czech underground assassinates Reinhard Heydrich, the governor of Bohemia-Moravia. Heydrich's assassin tries to escape capture.

This is based on a true story of course -- it's a well-known episode of World War II. Czech commandos were brought in from Britain on a mission with a slim chance of survival for the selfless agents. They unfortunately met a sad end after being betrayed by a fellow Czech. The history is described very well in books such as Callum MacDonald's "The Killing of SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich".

In 1943, when this film was made, were the full details of the actual events widely available in the USA? I'm not sure, but it seems unlikely.

The story as presented here is the tale of what happens one day when a girl goes out to buy vegetables for supper, and when a taxi driver lets his finicky engine idle. Perhaps this plot was fabricated for want of any other alternative, but its sheer ordinariness adds to its immediacy.

The reptilian Heydrich was one of the architects of Hitler's Final Solution. It's no coincidence that the plan to assassinate him was code-named "Anthropoid".

Hans Heinrich von Twardowski plays him briefly at the beginning of the drama. He's cold-blooded, vicious, rabid ... and a little effeminate. That aspect seems questionable. In 1943, there were at least as many reasons for knowing what his character represented as there were occupied countries in Europe. This particular embellishment seems to add little or nothing to the suspense.

(Twardowski himself was a German exile in Hollywood. If you can read German and have a look at the titles of the films he made in 1928 and 1929, you can probably hazard a guess as to why he was forced to leave Hitler's Germany.)

Brian Donlevy plays the assassin. It's not by chance that this character is named Dr. Svoboda. Svoboda is a common name, but it also happens to be the Czech word for "freedom".

I always find Donlevy effective, particularly so in "The Great McGinty" (1940) for Preston Sturges, but he does have a certain B actor limitation on access to his character's inner thoughts. He doesn't quite have the hunted quality of someone facing certain capture and torture. A perspiring lip might have helped.

Better is Alexander Granach as the Gestapo man Gruber, a Bob Hoskins sort of person, only sinister. He's ruthless, cunning, perfect in the part.

Walter Brennan appears as a Czech professor arrested and held as a hostage. Prof. Walter Brennan, that's right! He's very good. Considering the typecasting he must have been fighting against, he's excellent in fact.

My moderate criticism of some of the performances notwithstanding, the suspense in the story was of the nail-biting kind, I felt. I wouldn't have wanted to watch this in 1943 -- it's just too bleak, too disturbing. When hostages are being held by the Gestapo, it's a lose-lose situation all around. All possible outcomes are disastrous.

I guess the filmmakers felt -- knew -- that this would be more than a contemporary audience could really handle in the middle of wartime. Hence the film has an uplifting, artificial, fantasy ending which arrives like a deus ex machina.

That's certainly a drawback for viewers now, but I can't fault anyone. The context of the times couldn't have allowed any other solution.

Fritz Lang directed this return to Mitteleuropa, the scene of his youth and early classic films. He runs the show like a police procedural, making it all too real. He allows himself a couple of his great shots which I will allow you to discover for yourself.

In real life, the actual Czech assassins -- Josef Gabcik and Jan Kubis, plus their look-out man, Josef Valcik -- were all killed in battle at their hiding place in the Karel Boromejsky Church in Prague on June 18, 1942.

Heydrich's state funeral had been held earlier in Berlin on June 9. The Nazis had Siegfried's Funeral March from Wagner's "Götterdämmerung" played for the occasion, probably with extra added bombast.

That's the sort of heroic farewell that the martyred Czechs should have received.

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