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Hitler's Madman (1943)

Story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Nazi SS commander, by Czech partisans and the reprisals inflicted by the Nazis on the Czechs.

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Karel Vavra
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Jan Hanka
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Nepomuk - the Hermit
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Herman Bauer - Burgomaster
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Father Cemlanek
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Maria Bartonek - Anton's Wife
Jimmy Conlin ...
Dvorak - the Shopkeeper
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Storyline

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 churchyard where they sing defiantly as they are shot down, the village is set aflame and the women are sent to concentration camps. The town itself is leveled. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Drama | War

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Details

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Release Date:

10 June 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Hangman  »

Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film received its USA television premiere in Los Angeles Tuesday 27 November 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia Wednesday 2 January 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), by Chicago Tuesday 12 February 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2) and by Minneapolis 18 March 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9); its New York City television premiere took place 10 August 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2), followed by San Francisco 3 October 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »

Goofs

When Karel meets Jamilla's mother for the first time, there is a moving shadow of the boom microphone on the pillar above and behind them. See more »

Quotes

SS Colonel: Maybe Hess was right?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
John Carradine is terrific as the assassinated Nazi, Reinhardt Heydrich
1 June 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Hitler's Madman" (1943) dramatizes the assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich in 1942 in Nazi-held Czechoslovakia. It features a top-notch performance by John Carradine as Heydrich. He brings the film to life. His death scene packs a wallop because of his cynicism and fear of death and because of Himmler's reaction at his bedside. Himmler is played by Howard Freeman. Ralph Morgan, who turns to violent activism after a priest is shot by Carradine, comes off pretty good. So does Edgar Kennedy as a hermit. Peter van Eyck has an uncredited speaking role as a Nazi soldier. The mayor (Ludwig Stössel) is played as a bit of a buffoon; this undermines the realism. There is a very good scene in which the local young beauties are lined up and inspected as potential consorts for German soldiers. Did I see Ava Gardner among them, fourth from the left with her hand on her hip? Some roles fall into rather syrupy melodrama, also undermining the realism. Alan Curtis does what he can in a role that has limited possibilities. The way of speaking lines includes some Hollywood-style formality that's meant to convey a foreign language. This hasn't weathered the intervening decades that well.

The film has historical significance as part of the anti-Nazi war effort, as the first film that Douglas Sirk directed in America after fleeing Germany and as an early account of the massacre at Lidice and its destruction.

There have been a number of subsequent filmed accounts if one wants to see different approaches. I need to check them out myself. They include "Operation: Daybreak" (1975), "The Assassination" (1965) and "Hangmen Also Die!" (1943). "Anthropoid" (2016) is in production and/or unreleased.


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