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Critics reviews
Hangmen Also Die!
Fritz Lang United States, 1943
Evincing conspicuous survival skills… Svoboda is a thinking person’s freedom fighter, and the actor’s passive tendencies serve him well when receiving instruction, as he frequently is. We see him reasoning, carefully weighing the merits of incoming advice—a difficult process to convey without words. Brecht’s screenplay is suffused with speeches and Svoboda mostly listens and absorbs, making him that rare thing, then as now: a man of conscience, attuned to ideas as well as actions.
July 01, 2017
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The film’s array of Nazis is its best point (aside from Lang’s bleakly beautiful mise-en-scene, of course, and his crisp cutting, many scenes joined together by questions asked in one scene and answered in another, or phrases begun in one place and completed elsewhere. Is this where Welles got the idea for KANE’s scene-linking?).
June 17, 2017
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It’s simultaneously a crackling espionage thriller, a work of decidedly non-uplifting Allied propaganda, a congenitally anti-German diatribe, a plea for a treacly strain of politically-engaged art, and a romance that exudes as much passion as a cooties-fearing five-year-old.
July 15, 2016
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The movie is both the most ambitious and most topical of Lang’s anti-Nazi films… Visually, “Hangmen” is pure Lang — shadowy, sharply angled and claustrophobic. Langian, too, is the sense of amused pity, as the Czech traitor (ripely played by the inappropriately comic Gene Lockhart, soon to appear as Molotov in “Mission to Moscow”) is trapped and run to earth.
October 09, 2014
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Characteristically, Lang makes no pretense of staging a “real” war-time thriller, as this is another of his super-charged, almost surreal expressionist mixtures of melodrama with propaganda that’s so intense and pointed that it works both as parody and as a legitimately terrifying representation of hatred. The film’s a nightmare of inadvertent translucence…
September 16, 2014
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The movie fails to do for Czecho-Slovakia what other occupation films have failed to do for Holland, France or Norway (twice), and that is, capture the spirit of the Czechs. Like all the others, it didn’t even try. It is a Hitchcock man-trying-to-get-away-from-the-police plot, but unlike Hitchcock, it has no suavity, suspense or fluidity.
May 03, 1943