Watch: Hangmen Also Die! 1943 123movies, Full Movie Online – 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..
Plot: During the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, surgeon Dr. Franticek Svoboda, a Czech patriot, assassinates the brutal “Hangman of Europe”, Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich, and is wounded in the process. In his attempt to escape, he is helped by history professor Stephen Novotny and his daughter Mascha.
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Top notch WWII drama
This is loosely based on the true story of a member of the Czech underground assasinating the nazi regional governer, a ruthless fellow they call ‘the Hangman’. The story revolves around the assasin and the family that unknowingly hid him from the gestapo. When questioned by the gestapo, the family says the guy was there to see their daughter, who happens to be engaged to another fine gentleman. So this little situation complicates the story, as the gestapo detective,a very ruthless chap, tries to catch them in the lie. From there the story moves along in chilling fashion when 400 townfolks are rounded up to be executed in groups of 10 each day until the assasin is turned in. This causes people to question their inner strength and makes them wonder if it is worth it to sacrifice themselves to keep him hidden. The story gets resolves in a very clever way which I will not reveal. The movie has that film noir/Hitchkockian feel to it with the protagonist being chased down and making clever escapes by the skin of his teeth. Although the movie drags a bit here and there, it ends up being a worthwhile suspenseful drama and also makes you think a bit about what would you do if you were put in that situation.
Engrossing WWII film
Having been to the beautiful country of Czechoslovakia and met its wonderful people, it’s hard not to have an even stronger feeling for the way this country has suffered at the hands of oppressors. In “Hangmen Also Die,” director Fritz Lang captures the indomitable spirit of the Czechs using a true story, the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, one of Hitler’s enforcers in Czechoslovakia.
In this story, a young woman, Nasha Novotny (Anna Lee) misdirects the police as they search for a man she saw running away, in fact, the freedom fighter, Dr. Svoboda (Brian Donlevy) who shot Heydrich. Eventually her entire family is under suspicion because, without knowing it, they actually house the man who showed up on their doorstep later. Until someone in the country gives up the assassin, Hitler has ordered stiff reprisals and many hostages are taken and executions carried out. The head of the Novotny household (Walter Brennan) is ultimately taken hostage. In order to save him, Nasha wants to turn Svoboda over to the Gestapo.
This is an exciting and nerve-wracking film, if overly long. Anna Lee, who played the matriarch Lila Quartermaine on General Hospital for many years here is a young woman, and she does a wonderful job. Donlevy is perhaps slightly miscast. Dennis O’Keefe as Nasha’s fiancée is even more miscast than Donlevy – both those male characters could have used more color and depth. Walter Brennan is marvelous as Nasha’s father. The rest of the cast is excellent.
Marcia Davenport dealt with the Czech freedom fighters in her book “The Valley of Decision” – alas, that section was not included in the film version of the book. Davenport in real life was in love with Jan Mazurek, who was defenestrated. “Hangmen Also Die” is another example of bravery and heroism from the common man during an evil war.
Original Language en
Runtime 2 hr 14 min (134 min), 2 hr 14 min (134 min) (Turner library print) (USA), 1 hr 57 min (117 min) (DVD) (France)
Genre Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
Director Fritz Lang
Writer John Wexley, Bertolt Brecht, Fritz Lang
Actors Brian Donlevy, Walter Brennan, Anna Lee
Country United States
Awards Nominated for 2 Oscars. 1 win & 3 nominations total
Production Company N/A
Sound Mix Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Aspect Ratio 1.37 : 1
Film Length N/A
Negative Format 35 mm
Cinematographic Process Spherical
Printed Film Format 35 mm