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 and Angelus Pictures, Inc. It starred Patricia Morison and featured John Carradine as Reinhard Heydrich.
Hitler's Madman insert poster.
|Directed by||Douglas Sirk|
|Produced by||Seymour Nebenzal|
|Written by||Edna St. Vincent Millay (poem)|
Albrecht Joseph (story)
Emil Ludwig (story)
|Screenplay by||Peretz Hirschbein|
Edgar G. Ulmer (uncredited)
|Based on||Hangman's Village|
by Bart Lytton
|Music by||Karl Hajos|
|Edited by||Dan Milner|
|Distributed by||Loew's Inc.|
|27 Aug 1943|
The movie's opening credits say that Edna St. Vincent Millay's 1942 poem, Murder of Lidice 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.
The shooting of Hitler's Madman took place late in 1942 and early 1943. 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.
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.
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.
- Patricia Morison as Jarmilla Hanka
- John Carradine as Reinhard Heydrich
- Alan Curtis as Karel Vavra
- Howard Freeman as Heinrich Himmler
- Ralph Morgan as Jan Hanka based on Jan Kubiš
- Edgar Kennedy as Nepomuk
- Ludwig Stössel as Herman Bauer
- Al Shean as Father Cemlanek
- Elizabeth Russell as Maria Bartonek
- Jimmy Conlin as Dvorak
- Louis V. Arco (uncredited) as German Sergeant
- Richard Ryen (uncredited) as Gestapo
- Ava Gardner (uncredited) as Franciska Pritric
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."
Other films on the same subject:
- Hitler's Madman, Turner Classic Movies page
- Hitler's Madman, TCM overview page
- "Hitler's Madman (1943)". dvddrive-in.com.
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