Excellent stuff. Need to add this to my home library asap. Loved the uneasy tension and paranoia throughout, and all the actors gave amazing performances. Great war themed film, up there with Zinneman's "The Search" and Dmytryk's "Hitler's Children" imo. Another one knocked out of the park by Lang. 4.5 stars. Worth an immediate look for noir fans.
You need only to watch Lang's last films in Germany and first in America to see how much he feared the crowd becoming a mob. But suppose a place where a conspiracy of the crowd was justice? It is propaganda, with very American "Czechs", a tin-eared patriotic poetry jam, and Hollywoodisms that Brecht hated. Still, allow that its director wanted to be broadly urgent more than pure, and it can be thrillingly calculated.
Exactly what one might expect from a collaboration between Lang & Brecht; a didactic political story full of straight-to-camera sermonising, scathing anti-fascist rhetoric & a brazenly artificial approach. Lang's direction is impeccable; his use of deep focus imagery & expressionist shadowplay predict film noir; but it's the themes of scapegoats & persecution, of people turned against each other, that really lingers.
You might think that a film directed by Fritz Lang, with writing credits of Bert (sic) Brecht and Fritz Lang and with cinematography by James Wong Howe, combined with a cast including Brian Donlevy, Walter Brennan and Anna Lee would have interesting possibilities. It doesn't.
Manages to be gripping almost despite itself but the clash between Hollywood convention and the true horror of this story makes it unsatisfactory viewing. The acting really is very wooden but the locations are evocative. I watched it to its somewhat limp end.
Como prácticamente todo el trabajo de Lang durante la guerra, esta es una película de propaganda. Lo cual significa que lo importante no es hacer una buena historia, sino hacer una historia con un mensaje específico. El resultado es un guión mediocre y poco creíble. La fotografía no está mal en algunas escenas, pero fuera de eso no hay mucho más en esta movie.
Bertolt BRECHT - Fritz LANG - HERITAGE de l'EXPRESSIONNISME ALLEMAND Written by John Wexley from a story by Bertolt Brecht and Lang. Film racontant l'assassinat du chef nazi Heydrich sous forme de fiction. C'est l'unique scénario de Bertolt Brecht pour le cinéma d'Hollywood. https://www.facebook.com/zyx.mhclaes/media_set?set=a.792006477522164.1073741938.100001384583310&type=3
This is no history lesson (if I want to have accurate information I grab a history book) but a work of art by anti-Fascist German artists, a unique cooperation between Fritz Lang, Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler. Of course it is a propaganda film (like Curtiz' "Casablanca" in 1942), but its subject - told in a very sophisticated way - is the dynamics of resistance (or the way the artists imagined/desired it).
This film is about silence, where most WW2 films(Schindler’s List!!!) is about noise. In the ellipses, one can hear a cry of agony. The cry is silent, therefore louder than bombs. This cry is a single person's cry, yet the cry of all humanity. The pain and the courage in the film is as recognizable as the sun, because it is not made artificial in the filmmaking process.
What an edgy film! I loved this. First off, I loved seeing 1943 stock footage of Prague after just vacationing there, but this story really put more of the harsh reality of the war in the forefront without the typical Hollywood sugar-coating. It was tragic and devastating without too much of the rose-colored glasses look at the war. Well done.