June 1943: Hitler’s Madman

Douglas Sirk! I love his 50s melodramas, but I haven’t seen any of his earlier stuff, so I’m excited to watch this movie.

Virtually all of the war movies I’ve seen so far in this series (that are set in foreign countries) are set in the Czechoslovakia. I guess it makes sense… it was an early invadee of the Germans. But why not, say, Poland? Is it a way to avoid the complications of the Jewish Question?

Just like the Fritz Lang/Bertolt Brecht movie, this is staunchly anti-Nazi, but it’s a completely different approach. That movie had cartoon evil Nazis (which is great and very Brecht), while this one has more melodramatic evil Nazis (which is also great). The scene where the Nazi commander picks out Czech girls to be sent to the front (as “entertainment” for the German soldiers) is absolutely horrifying.

Both movies are about the same event, sort of: Killing Reinhard Heydrich, the Gestapo chief in Czechoslovakia. But plot-wise, they have nothing else in common, really.

Like the Lang movie, it’s not completely successful as a movie. But it’s a very successful anti-Nazi piece. And you’d have to be a Nazi not to be moved by the final scene.

Hitler’s Madman. Douglas Sirk. 1943.

Popular movies in June 1943 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
10322 8.2 The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
1163 7.2 Hit the Ice
1794 7.0 Bataan
901 7.0 The Constant Nymph
488 6.7 Hitler’s Madman
298 6.7 Coney Island
1179 6.6 Stage Door Canteen
676 6.5 Best Foot Forward
708 6.4 Jitterbugs
260 6.4 Crime Doctor

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

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