Hitler's Madman

Hitler's Madman is a 1943 World War II film about the assassination of Nazi Reinhard Heydrich and the Lidice massacre revenge taken by the Germans. The picture was produced by Seymour Nebenzal for PRC[1] and Angelus Pictures, Inc.[2] It starred Patricia Morison and featured John Carradine as Reinhard Heydrich.

Hitler's Madman
Hitler's Madman insert poster.
Directed byDouglas Sirk
Produced bySeymour Nebenzal
Written byEdna St. Vincent Millay (poem)
Albrecht Joseph (story)
Emil Ludwig (story)
Screenplay byPeretz Hirschbein
Melvin Levy
Doris Malloy
Edgar G. Ulmer (uncredited)
Based onHangman's Village
1943 novel
by Bart Lytton
StarringPatricia Morison
John Carradine
Alan Curtis
Music byKarl Hajos
CinematographyJack Greenhalgh
Eugen Schüfftan
Edited byDan Milner
Angelus Pictures
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release date
27 Aug 1943
Running time
84 minutes

The movie's opening credits say that Edna St. Vincent Millay's 1942 poem, Murder of Lidice[3] was the inspiration for this movie and parts of the poem are read at the beginning of the film to introduce the audience to the doomed village.[4]

The shooting of Hitler's Madman took place late in 1942 and early 1943.[2] Sirk hired German cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan to shoot the film, but since he was not allowed in the United States at the time, the credit was instead given to Jack Greenhalgh.[1]

When Hitler's Madman was finished, MGM's Louis B. Mayer bought the production (reshoots were made in MGM's own studios), making it one of the few, and possibly the first, film originally from another company to be distributed by MGM.[1]

Plot summary

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 under the command of Reinhard Heydrich who rules the country with an iron fist, arbitrarily arresting innocents and charging them with fictitious crimes. When Heydrich dies from wounds received in a roadside attack, SS chief Heinrich Himmler orders the destruction of Lidice. The men are herded into a church which is set aflame and the women are sent to concentration camps. The town itself is leveled.



Paul Mavis, of DVD Drive-In, reviewing the Warner Archive Collection 2015 DVD release, wrote, "Hitler's Madman mixes director Sirk’s complex subtextual concerns with straight-ahead (for its time) horror, in a B shocker that still packs a considerable punch."[5]

See also

Other films on the same subject:


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