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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 overview:
... Jarmilla Hanka
... Reinhardt Heydrich
... Karel Vavra
... Heinrich Himmler
... Jan Hanka
... Nepomuk - the Hermit
... Herman Bauer - Burgomaster
... Father Cemlanek
... Maria Bartonek - Anton's Wife
Jimmy Conlin ... Dvorak - the Shopkeeper


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War





Release Date:

10 June 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Hangman  »


Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 Seattle Sunday 10 February 1957 on KING (Channel 5), by Chicago Tuesday 12 February 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), by Altoona PA 20 February 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), 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 »


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 »


Professor: Inevitably, pressure creates its own counter pressure. Its very existence fertilizes the seeds of its eventual annihilation.
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Featured in Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Hitler Makes People Mad
14 December 2016 | by See all my reviews

From his relatively safe base in England, Czech soldier Alan Curtis (as Karel Vavra) parachutes into his former hometown of Lidice, now controlled by bloodthirsty German Nazis. The village is a resource-rich riverside farming community, now helping to fatten Hitler's madmen. Hiding out and encouraging residents to support British allies through sabotage, Mr. Curtis reacquaints himself with glamorous schoolteacher Patricia Morison (as Jarmilla Hanka). While on his mission to bolster local resistance, Curtis is unable to resist Ms. Morrison's movie-star beauty. Their greatest obstacle is John Carradine (as Reinhardt Heydrich), an especially nasty Nazi called "The Hangman" and "The Protector" (of Hitler's Third Reich)...

This was director Douglas Sirk's first American film, after arriving from Hitler's Germany. He makes a great first impression on US shores and had, no doubt, some personal observations about Adolf Hitler and his fascist regime. The brutality is addressed more vividly in modern movies. Older films had to tone down the violence or omit it altogether in favor of gun-ho propaganda. Sirk manages to covey the horror without gore and tells the story exceptionally well...

"Hitler's Madman" is bogged down by the ill-placed Hollywood-style romance played by co-leads Curtis and Morrison. They are out of place, here, but the film's supporting roles are marvelous. The "Madman" in the title refers to Mr. Carradine. There are a couple others who would have made "Hitler's Madmen" a more appropriate heading. Carradine has several great scenes. So does gluttonous Ludwig Stossel (as Herman Bauer), the mayor inserted by the Nazis. And, while only seen briefly, Sirk has portly Howard Freeman (as Heinrich Himmler) primping memorably in a mirror while planning a slaughter...

From the obvious twists in Edgar Kennedy's showy alcohol-drenched hermit (Nepomuk) to the subtle revenge enacted by mournful German mayor's wife Johanna Hofer (as Magda), there are engaging characterizations. Yet, the story belongs to the "organizers and intellectuals" targeted by Hitler, and represented by veteran actor Ralph Morgan (as Jan Hanka). The father of leading lady Morrison, Mr. Morgan initially doesn't want to support the resistance because he believes his entire village could be destroyed. His character's journey is the one to follow and Morgan's "Jan Hanka" walks away with the film.

******** Hitler's Madman (6/10/1943) Douglas Sirk ~ Alan Curtis, Patricia Morison, Ralph Morgan, John Carradine

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