Somewhat fictionalized account of the destruction of the village of Lidice in Czechoslovakia and the events leading up to it. In 1942, the Allies parachuted a Czech resistance fighter into the area. He quickly reunites with his former girlfriend and many of the villagers who knew him from before the war. The Nazis are evil however and under the command of Reinhardt Heydrich rule the country with an iron fist, arbitrarily arresting innocents and charging them with fictitious crimes. When Heydrich is severely wounded in a roadside attack - he dies three days later - Henrich Himmler orders the destruction of Lidice. The men are herded into a church which is set aflame and the women are sent to concentration camps. The town itself is leveled. Written by
Although this film was originally filmed by poverty-row studio Producers Releasing Corp. (PRC), the word got out in Hollywood that the picture was far and away the best thing PRC had ever done; eventually MGM executives got a look at it, were suitably impressed, bought it from PRC and it was released as an MGM picture. See more »
Really does not do justice to the historic assassination of Heydrich.
This film story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (titled by the Nazis as Reichs Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, by the Czechs as "The Hangman", and also one of the architects of "The Final Solution")and of the subsequent annihilation of the village of Lidice by the Nazis, really does not do justice to the subject. Although released by MGM, it was actually produced by poverty row Producer Releasing Corporation (PRC). Some of the cast members are old familiars and rather good, but none give a feeling that these are Czechs being murdered by Hitler's minions. As war propaganda, it is a success, and it at least gives the spirit of the tragedy of Lidice, if not historically detailed facts. John Carradine is effective as Heydrich, especially in his deathbed scene.
The facts about the assassination briefly are that two Czech partisans were parachuted into Czechoslovakia from an RAF plane. They managed to ambush Heydrich's open Mercedes, throw a bomb under it, and escape to a church. Heydrich died a few days later from complications arising from the penetration of his spleen by bomb fragments and debris from the car upholstery. Using torture, the Nazis discovered the whereabouts of the two partisans and the SS killed them at once. Lidice was picked more or less at random from among villages known to have anti-German leanings. On Hitler's orders, the men were shot and the women and children removed to camps, while the buildings of the site were levelled. When it became known in the allied world, this made excellent anti-Nazi propaganda, and more than one film was made of the subject. It may be that the massive retaliation backfired somewhat on the Nazis also by stiffening Czech resistance to the occupation.
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