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Hangmen Also Die! (1943)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | April 1943 (USA)
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.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Bertolt Brecht (adaptation) (as Bert Brecht), Fritz Lang (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Donlevy ... Dr. Franticek Svoboda / Karel Vanek
Walter Brennan ... Prof. Stephen Novotny
Anna Lee ... Masha Novotny
Gene Lockhart ... Emil Czaka
Dennis O'Keefe ... Jan Horak
Margaret Wycherly ... Ludmilla Novotny
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Hellie Novotny
William Roy William Roy ... Beda Novotny (as Billy Roy)
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ... Reinhard Heydrich (as H. H v. Twardowski)
Alexander Granach ... Gestapo Insp. Alois Gruber
Tonio Selwart Tonio Selwart ... Chief of Gestapo Kurt Haas
Jonathan Hale ... Dedic
Lionel Stander ... Banya
Sarah Padden ... Mrs. Georgia Dvorak
Edmund MacDonald ... Dr. Pillar
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Storyline

On May 27, 1942 the Nazi Reichsprotector of Bohemia/Moravia, the "Hangman" Reinhard Heydrich, died from the bullets of unidentified resistance fighters. Hangmen Also Die is the story of Heydrich's assassination in fictionalized form. It was Bertolt Brecht's only comparatively successful Hollywood project; the money he received allowed him to write "The Visions of Simone Marchand", "Schwyk in the Second World War" and his adaptation of Webster's "The Duchess of Malfi". Hanns Eisler won an Academy Award for his musical score. Written by J.Arnold Free <arnold@mayahtt.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Fritz Lang's masterpiece of intrigue and deception. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

April 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Never Surrender See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Arnold Pressburger Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally, Bertolt Brecht was denied story credit by the Screen Writer's Guild, even though he worked closely with writer John Wexley on the project. See more »

Goofs

After the German soldier shoots open the study door at Czaka's house, the door is opened yet there are no bullet holes, around the door handle or in the door or frame, even though there were at least 10 rounds fired by a machine gun. See more »

Quotes

Gestapo Insp. Alois Gruber: You better put that down.
Dr. Pillar: I'm going to put it where it belongs
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end of the film reads "NOT The End". See more »

Connections

Featured in Hooray for Holyrood (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Vltava
(The Moldau) (uncredited)
From "Má vlast (My Country)"
Music by Bedrich Smetana
Played in the movie theater
Also played on the radio during dinner
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Film by Fritz Lang
26 October 2004 | by funguymike32See all my reviews

Superb addition to Fritz Langs wonderful catalogue of films.

We see here his trademark 'almost documentary' style as well as propaganda (See The Last Testament of Dr Mabuse for another take on the Nazi regime). His trademark shadows (See 'M').

Early in the film we see Heydrich, an evil dictator who used his mandate from Hitler in the fullest possible way. Here he is played by Hans Heinrich von Twardowski who really is scary in portrayal. Lang shows this brilliantly in the way that the Czech people fear him, and also that he is feared by his own men. The master stroke here is the way Heydrich speaks only in German with no subtitles, given an English translation by someone else in the room. People fear him as he is and even though they cannot understand him, they fear what he has said.

The film centres around the reprisals after Heydrich's assassination. The assassin is still living/hiding in Prague. A few know his identity. But they know that if they inform the Gestapo they will be killed and they also know if they don't they may die anyway.

The tight script builds the tension to the highest level to a brilliant climax.

The cast are brilliant, especially the ever reliable Walter Brennan. An actor of the highest caliber. Abley backed up by Anna Lee, Brian Donlevy & Dennis O'Keefe.

This film is made all the more brilliant by the fact that it's idea was conceived only a short time after Heydrich's real-life assassination, not necessarily from a propaganda point of view, but with Lang you know you will get a film that will bench mark the film industry for years to come and people will sit up and take notice.


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