|Page 1 of 7:||      |
|Index||65 reviews in total|
I can't see how TV Guide could say that this was one of the all-time worst shows on television. This show was pretty much Mission: Impossible with a laugh track. The crazy schemes that Hogan and his men would think up to thrawt the Nazi war machine were what made this show great. Also, Werner Klemperer will always be loved for his portrayal of the most bumbling officer in television history. But the thing that really made it special was that it was one of the first series to treat an African-American character as an equal to the white characters. Ivan Dixon, who would later go on to become a great director, would often prove to be the smartest member of the cast and perhaps was the most level headed as well. TV Guide needs too look at this show again.
The problem with Hogan's heroes is that it has lost its context. People
criticize it as a comedy set in a German prisoner of War camp, saying that
trivializes the real human tragedies created by the Nazi regime. The thing
is, Hogan's Heroes is not a spoof of prison camps. It's a spoof of World War
II movies and TV shows. It came out in the wake of films like `The Longest
Day', `The Great Escape', etc. which produced shows like `Combat', `The
Gallant Men', 12 O'Clock High', all of which were hyper serious because of
the subject matter. Such a trend requires a leavening spoof. And `Hogan's
Heroes' and `McHale's Navy' provided that comic relief. Nobody ever
criticized McHale's Navy for trivializing the Pacific War, any more than
they criticized `F Troop' for not being a documentary about the Old West or
`Get Smart' for not being written by John LaCarre. Why do we indict Hogan's
heroes for being insensitive to the deprivations of the Nazis?
This show is itself based on a hit Broadway play and movie from a decade before called `Stalag 17' which won William Holden an Oscar. If you've seen Stalag 17, the humor there is much cruder and more oblivious of the real threat of the Nazis than Hogan's Heroes. Robert Strauss and Harvey Lembeck, (later to show up in another Military spoof to which HH also obviously owes a lot), decide at one point they would like to see some female Russian POWS take showers. They grab a bucket of paint and begin painting a stripe down the middle of the road toward the building where the showers are. This fools the guards until the paint a stripe right over to the window of this building, (the showers have windows?), and peer in. There is nothing this crude or insensitive in any episode of Hogan's Heroes. Yet this is a highly regarded film.
But now, 30 years later, when there are fewer films about that era made, the old show is viewed not a spoof of a show business trend but as a parody of the real event, which it was never really intended to be. This has allowed the critics to `pile on' and rip the show for being insensitive to the victims of Nazi oppression. All I remember is a funny show and that's all it was ever intended to be.
On paper this sounds like one of the stupidest shows you'll ever hear about, but in reality it's quite funny. The cast was well chosen and played their parts well. It's great to see a show that can take WW2 and turn it into a joke, although we all know it wasn't.
Hogan's Heroes is probably the wildest most far-fetched series next to Gilligan's Island to become successful where so many even more far-fetched shows barely make it their first year. The show had a fine cast, great writing and even edge of the seat adventures as you wondered how Hogan and his men, Americans Andrew Carter, Sgt. James Kinchloe, Sgt. Richard Baker, British Peter Newkirk, French Louis LeBeau and Russian Leonid Kinsky in the pilot, pulled the wool over and outfoxed the Nazis. Werner Klemperer did a wonderful characterization as the pompous Commodant Wilhelm Klink and John Banner became a hysterical Sgt. Hans Schultz with his mugging and facial expressions. The only other roles of recurring Nazis belong to short-tempered General Ivan Burkhalter and the madman Major Wolfgang Hochstetter as played by Leon Askin and Howard Caine, two wonderful character actors. The critics of this show need to go back to school and learn the differences between P.O.W. Camps and Concentration Camps; even people in Germany watching this show today can see the humor and lack of logic in the Nazi's claims of being the superior master race and it is that same arrogance that works so well against them as Hogan uses their own delusions to his advantages. The show is also worthy to watch to see the early roles of William Christopher from M*A*S*H* and repeating returns of director Norm Pitlik as an actor. During the run of the series, the man must have had thirty different roles. Larry Hovis also made repeated impersonations as Hitler, and Bob Crane even got the chance to shine in one episode with his skills as a drummer. Sadly, the exterior sets of the series no longer exist, vanished along with the fictional towns of Hammelsburg and Mayberry, North Carolina.
"For security reasons I cannot tell you the exact location. The request
was no names please, but somewhere in Germany an American officer is
operating a sabotage and rescue unit from of all places, a POW camp.
These men saved my life. For me they are among the unsung heroes of
Bob Crane pacing in perfect step with a chimp -- an unforgettable image from an all-time TV classic.
I have seen more repetitions of Hogan's Heroes than I have seen cycles of any other TV series. Watching the entire series, viewers will see that most episodes were wacky and certainly unrealistic. Silly, zany comedy was the norm. However, other episodes were much more sober and more filled with tension and suspense (check out the "North Star" episode from one of the early seasons). Some episodes added twists upon twists upon twists. Most were story driven rather than simply character driven.
The cast was top notch and worked well together in front of the camera. Charisma and chemistry -- and mighty funny too! Check this series out.
I've just heard the British comedian Joe Pasquale being asked to define good comedy and his answer was, tragedy plus time. Hogan's heroes (he said) was one of his inspirations and it reminded me how much I loved this show myself, all those years ago. Who would've thought a Nazi prison camp could be the setting for a comedy series, but it was, and the results were often hilarious. The basic formula is the adversarial daily life between American POWs and their German guards, constantly trying to put one over on each other. The main character was the senior American officer (Colonel Hogan) played by the charismatic Bob Crane who strangely never found fame in any other role and was tragically murdered in Arizona. What gives this show such strength is that the 2 lead Nazis (the overweight Sergeant Schultz & his pompous CO, Colonel Klink) were both played by Jewish actors. John Banner (Schultz) was Austrian and Werner Klemperer (Klink) was German and they both came to America as refugees from the wicked regime in their home countries. How's that for putting a finger up at Hitler! I hope fans of the show will like my own personal "contribution". Hogan's Heroes was a massive success in Britain in 1973/74 and close to where I grew up was a Ministry of Agriculture office. One of the guys who worked there was - literally - the spitting image of John Banner. They could have been twins. This man used to walk to work each day as me and my friends walked to school. As you may know, Schultz' catch-phrase was "I know NOTHING", spoken in a strong German accent and every day this poor guy had to put up with obnoxious kids passing him and muttering " I know NUSSINK." You could tell he knew damn well what was going on, but he would never degrade himself by admitting it :) Sadly I don't think today's "politically correct" climate would smile on a show such as Hogan's heroes, but it IS funny and worth seeing if it's ever shown again.
This TV show is set in World War II, and that in itself was a very bold move
to base a sitcom in a such a dark period of human history. This show excels
for having, for the most part a good and generally non-realised talented
cast. The stories are entertaining and have a decent amount of tension yet
it most definitely doesn't take itself too seriously.
As a previous comment pointed out this show was one of the first to portray an African-American as an equal to white people which was very bold and positive move for a 1960's show. Star Trek had at the same time given black people and women a status of equality to men when they cast Nichelle Nichols as an African American woman as a main character. So I am very pleased at the fact that the producers took a chance and made this character righfully as an equal.
The theme music is catchy, ok may be slightly annoying but Jerry Fielding did a competent job. I a m not sure who scores the rest of the episodes, it seems they reuse and make music for certain episodes and recycle whenever they can probably due to budget but its edited nicely. You may be able to know that film editor Michael Kahn started his editing career on this show and has edited many of Steven Spielbergs films to the present. This brings up the issue of production quality. Not bad for 1960's standards for a less than 30 minute job, editing is pretty good, music, cinematography is alright. Not fantastic but this the 1960s.
The aforementioned cast are filled with talent. Most notably is the principle cast, Schultz (John Banner), Klink (Werner Klemperer) and Hogan (Bob Crane). This show has had nothing but top notch actors and guest actors. Bob Crane may have dabbled in some undesirable off-camera infamous affairs but he is nevertheless a great actor.
Watch this show if you haven't, some episodes are forgettable, some are great, some are just fantastic.
One of the all time best comedies? I would say most probably so :).
Hogan's Heroes is one of the greatest comedies ever made. It's been over thirty years since it was first aired, and it is till hilarious today. The story is about Colonel Hogan (Bob Crane) and his Allied Prisoners (Robert Clary, Richard Dawson, Ivan Dixon, Larry Hovis, and Kenneth Washington) prisoned in Stalag 13. Colonel Klink (Werner Klemperer) and Sgt Shultz (John Banner) is running the camp, with the occasional visit from General Burkhalter (Leon Askin) and Major Hochstetter (Howard Caine), they are unaware that Hogan and his men have tunnels everywhere, with radios, and much more. Some clever one liners, and gags make this comedy worth watching. It is a bit crude to spoof a POW Camp, and the Germans, but once you watch Hogan's Heroes, you'll forget all that, and laugh yourself silly. Overall, 11/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When "Hogan's Heroes" became a national television phenomenon in the
1960s, the critics sharpened their knives and went at it as the lowest
possible taste. Even "Mad Magazine" did a nasty swipe at it's
improbabilities (not noting that those improbabilities were built in
for emphasizing the evils that real Allied veterans faced against the
real Nazis). I remember that the MAD satire suggested going one step
better - do a series about Jewish concentration camp inmates called
"Hochman's Heroes". Nobody, certainly not the writers and producers of
"Hogan's Heroes", ever suggested the death camps were funny or material
for possible humor.
When Werner Klemperer was on a talk show (Mike Douglas or Merv Griffin, I forget which) in the 1970s talking about his Emmy winning role of Col. Wilhelm Klink, Klemperer explained his willingness to play the commandant of a German P.O.W. camp in World War II. After all, like fellow stars John Banner, Leon Askin, and Ron Clary he was a survivor of the period, and a Jew (and so like Banner and Askin he had fled the Nazis, unlike Clary who was in a concentration camp but survived). Klemperer made certain that none of the proposed episodes would ever glorify the Nazis (he termed them, "those fellows" - a rather mild use of language but he was a gentleman) before he agreed to sign up. One has to look at his long career in film and television to see how consistent he was. Klemperer could play villains, and he certainly was very effective playing die-in-the-soul Nazis. He appeared as Adolf Eichman in one film, and was the Nazi fanatic at the Nuremburg trials in "Judgement At Nuremburg" ("Traitor! TRAITOR!!" - his most famous line there at Burt Lancaster). Even in an episode of ONE STEP BEYOND he was a loyal SS man trying to flee Nazi Germany in it's dying days on a submarine to South America. Like the great Conrad Veidt, Klemperer knew his real enemy and did a fine job delineating the particular animal to the world. So curiously did Banner, who played Gregor Strasser in the movie "Hitler", with Richard Basehart.
If one sees the episodes, the more typical Nazi slime are not the comic caricatures. Only one comic caricature, Howard Caine, never has a redeeming feature - but he is a Gestapo officer. The late Leon Askin (he recently died) is always throwing his fat bulk about as General Burkhalter, and does gloat at possible Allied defeats, but he is a family man, always trying to push the possible marriage of his hideous sister (Kathleen Freeman in a typically good performance) with the trapped Klink. John Banner's simple soldier Sgt. Schultz has a long tradition going back to the post World War I novel "The Good Soldier Schweik", about the unconvinced conscript who is there just to survive and go home. The show was based (in part) on the William Holden film of the play "Stalag 17", where Otto Preminger was the conniving camp commandant and Sig Ruman was the jovial, untrustworthy sergeant. In the context of that fine Billy Wilder film both roles were well written and cast. But the variations in Klink and Schultz in the television series are (odd to think of it) rounder and more believable.
The episode that I think reveals the truth about them is one where Hogan (Bob Crane, a talented man who was brutally murdered a few years later) manages to convince the Nazi leadership near the camp that the Allies and the Axis have decided to end the war. Klink, Burkhalter, Schultz, Hogan are in Klink's office toasting with schnapps, and now in a relaxed mood, they discuss future plans. Hogan will return to the states and his former job. Burkhalter will still be in a command position in the post-war Nazi Army. But there will be (naturally) a large number of soldiers and officers on all sides who will be decommissioned. While the human Klink is glad the war will be over, he sadly shakes his head. He doesn't know what he will do in the post-war world. He will have his half-pay pension, and has saved a little money. He will have to find work of some sort. Then he looks at Banner and (somewhat mockingly) says, "And you Schultz, what will you do?" Banner, quietly sipping his schnapps, says, "Oh, that's no problem...I will always have a job waiting for me at the Dinkle Toy corporation." The other three are not surprised, but it does fill in some of Schultz's background. One can see him making or selling little toys. Klink says, "Oh, that company is huge. It's the largest toy firm in Europe. What job do you have there?" Perfectly timed, Banner savoring his schnapps and the impact of his comment says, "I AM THE DINKLE TOY CORPORATION!" Klink's eyes widen and his ever present monocle pops out. That in the post-German world lowly, put upon Schultz would actually be a major industrialist never occurred to the Colonel. And in one's mind, recalling the economic miracle that has made Germany the muscular power it is since 1950, the "Schultz"s of that country did their job pretty well.
That is why I feel the series was better written and thought out than many of it's critics felt. It didn't glorify what was horrible and unjustifiable in German occupied Europe from 1938 - 1945. It slapped that down, and showed the shape of things to come.
Hogan's Heroes is, without a doubt, the funniest television show ever made. The way it makes fun of Nazis is perfection. One of my all-time favorite episodes is the one where Hogan and his men had Klink and Burkhalter convinced that there was such a device called a Gonkulator. Or the one where they convinced Klink and Hochstetter that the war was over. That is just absolute brilliance. Sure, there's a lot of plot manipulation going on in the show, but who cares. It's hilarious.
|Page 1 of 7:||      |
|External reviews||Official site||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|