Hitler's Madman

Sirk's first American film may, like Lang's Hangmen Also Die!, centre on the true story of the Nazi commander Heydrich, whose assassination by the Czechs brought about horrendous reprisals by the German forces, but it is less noir-thriller than a committed, moving tribute to the spirit of resistance among the occupied Czech people. Its low budget is all too evident in the back-lot sets and the none-too-inspiring cast (though Carradine is superb as the sadistic Heydrich, and Ava Gardner has a brief cameo as a peasant girl tormented by brutal Nazis), but the overall effect is surprisingly powerful; from the opening shots of a statue of St Sebastian pinned with arrows, the film's emphasis on physical suffering and martyrdom is kept well to the fore.

Release details

Duration: 85 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Douglas Sirk
Screenwriter: Peretz Hirshbein, Melvin Levy, Doris Malloy
Cast: Edgar Kennedy
Howard Freeman
Patricia Morison
Alan Curtis
John Carradine
Ralph Morgan
Ava Gardner
Jimmy Conlin
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