Marvellous anti-Nazi propaganda film structured as noir thriller, with Donlevy as the man who assassinates Heydrich in Prague in 1942, hiding out with the Resistance when the Gestapo implement a retributory reign of terror in the city. Brecht, who originally worked on the script with Lang, claimed that his ideas were betrayed by the final product; but Lang's insistence that for most of the film he did employ the writer's work seems borne out by many fine sequences, with the taut, typically Langian action often interrupted by speeches that comment both didactically and intelligently on the proceedings. The atmosphere is dark and oppressive, the Nazis are portrayed as ideological gangsters, and the themes of loyalty and betrayal, passive and active resistance, beautifully worked out. Superb performances throughout, while James Wong Howe's photography perfectly captures the spirit of the occupied city, where hiding places are few and far from safe.
Cast and crew
Fritz Lang, Bertolt Brecht, John Wexley
Brian Donlevy Anna Lee Walter Brennan Gene Lockhart Dennis O'Keefe Alexander Granach Margaret Wycherly