HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Laguna Ave.
Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11
Amulet
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
   
 
Newest Articles
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Hangmen Also Die! Assassin's Creed
Year: 1943
Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Brian Donlevy, Walter Brennan, Anna Lee, Gene Lockhart, Dennis O’Keefe, Margaret Wycherly, Nana Bryant, William Roy, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Alexander Granach, Tonio Selwart, Jonathan Hale, Lionel Stander, Sarah Padden, Edmund MacDonald
Genre: Drama, Thriller, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1942 and the nation of Czechoslovakia is struggling under the Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe, trying to appeal to the Soviet Union to step in and rescue them. The chief of operations in this region is the Gestapo leader Richard Heydrich (Hans Heinrich von Twardowski) who is ruling over his new subjects with a fist of iron, and has thus become a prime target for the resistance, but he is so important to his bosses that any attempt on his life would have dire repercussions. No matter, they have made up their minds and set an assassin after him, the surgeon Franz Svoboda (Brian Donlevy), who does succeed in gunning the tyrant down, but finds the whole Nazi war machine bearing down on him and the rest of his allies...

Now, Heydrich really was assassinated, they got that right, but for whatever reason this was a fabrication otherwise as German director in exile Fritz Lang teamed up with German playwright in exile Bertolt Brecht (credited as Bert, somewhat informally) to do what such emigrants did in Hollywood of the early nineteen-forties, make propaganda against the Nazi regime. However, while Lang stayed on to direct their subsequently rewritten screenplay, Brecht complained bitterly about his treatment, little ray of sunshine that he was, though scholars are able to detect the more typical elements of his style throughout the running time of Hangmen Also Die!, so he was not entirely erased from it.

This is why the film continues to hold an interest with audiences down the decades since, though not particularly with the sticklers for detail who are frustrated with every historical inaccuracy in what was a made up plot which saw the rebels snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat, when what happened in real life was the repercussions visited upon the locals were absolutely awful, and there were no clever machinations to make sure weasely collaborators and too smart for their own good lower level officials alike were brought to book. The depiction of the Nazis was weirdly akin to that of the comic lampoonery that the Allied comedians were churning out, more or less as idiot buffoons, such was the way of propaganda here.

That said, the bad guys here were not wholly stupid, there were a few who were able to work out the wool was being pulled over their eyes by the canny Czechoslovakians, and they were the threat to be beaten by the resistance, which they did not achieve without losing on their side to an extent either. It was a curious, broad tone throughout, where there were many in the cast you could accuse of overacting, especially those playing the villains, yet the subject matter was undeniably grim and there must have been many in the contemporary audiences who were well aware about the real events that had happened but did not mind so much as long as they could get to see the evildoers get their comeuppance. With that in mind, Lang was fairly clearly working to a template that he provided his own particular variations on.

Cinematographer James Wong Howe took care of the shadow-strewn visuals and made something oddly akin to pantomime without the laughs more like the wartime chiller it would be more appropriate to present. Still, there was a problem that the antagonists were portrayed with far more enthusiasm than the good guys, with Donlevy dialling back his performance to stoic yet colourless, Walter Brennan as subdued as he ever was as a rabble rouser who is arrested for Donlevy's crime, though Anna Lee (her British accent contributing to the hodgepodge of global inflections to be heard here) as Brennan's daughter had more fire in her belly as she gets in over her head when trying to exonerate her parent. Lang concocted some of his trademark suspense sequences - when the Gestapo Inspector (Alexander Granach) is cornered upon realising what is happening, for instance - and the sense of a paranoid society folding in on those who instigated that very paranoia was deeply felt, but there was an artificiality hanging over the production. More historically interesting for its message than how it was presented, and the depiction of Heydrich was one Freddie Starr himself would have regarded as over the top. Music by Hanns Eisler.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2759 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Fritz Lang  (1890 - 1976)

Tyrannical, monocle-sporting, Austrian-born director who first became established in Germany, significantly due to his second wife Thea von Harbou who wrote many of his scripts for him including famous silents Dr Mabuse the Gambler, the two-part Die Niebelungen, revolutionary sci-fi Metropolis, Spione and Lang's first sound effort, the celebrated M (which catapulted Peter Lorre to fame).

He had caught the interest of the Nazis by this time, so after another couple of Dr Mabuse films he decided to flee the country rather than work for them (von Harbou stayed behind), and arrived in America. There he was quickly snapped up by Hollywood producers to create a string of memorable thrillers, such as Fury, You Only Live Once, Man Hunt, and the World War II-themed Hangmen Also Die, which fed into a talent for film noir he took advantage of in the forties. Some of these were Ministry of Fear, Scarlet Street, The Woman in the Window and Secret Behind the Door, noirish Western Rancho Notorious and The Big Heat. After the fifties and one final Mabuse film, Lang had difficulty getting work due to his bad-tempered reputation and increasing blindness, but stayed a personality in the movie world right up to his death.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: