Scripted by Lester Cole (later one of the HUAC 'Hollywood Ten'), this anticipates the end of WWII and the Nuremberg Trials to stage an International War Crimes Commission in Warsaw. The case under consideration is that of Wilhelm Grimm (Knox), former Reichs Commissioner of the Western Region of Poland. Fascinatingly, although 'leniency' is not the order of the day (as the title suggests), and no punches are pulled in detailing his crimes (the term 'extermination camp' is not used, but the script is unique for the period in making it quite clear that Grimm's regime in Warsaw is to implement the final solution), the film is not concerned with zomboid Nazis and their horrors. Rather, tracing Grimm's career in flashback from 1919, when he returned after WWI minus a leg and plus a bitter resentment of Germany's humiliation in defeat, it attempts to probe the psychology of the man; and in so doing, without in any way condoning or sympathising, it manages to elicit a glimmer of understanding. There are naiveties, and the film now suffers from a certain déjà vu; but script, direction and acting all remain impressive.
Cast and crew
|Director:||André De Toth|