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Hangmen Also Die!

Hangmen Also Die!(1943)

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NOTES

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The working titles of this film were Never Surrender, Unconquered and We Killed Hitler's Hangman. The film closes with shots of Prague and the words "NOT The End." The actors are listed in different order in the two opening credit lists. Actor Reinhold Schunzel's surname is misspelled "Schuenzel" in the onscreen credits. This film was inspired by the 1942 assassination of Nazi Deputy Protector of Bohemia-Moravia Reinhard Heydrich in Prague, Czechoslovakia, by a Czech resistance fighter. Heydrich, known as the "Hangman of Europe," was responsible for proposing and enacting the methodical extermination of Jews during the early years of World War II. Nazi troops retaliated against the Czech people for Heydrich's death with the massacre and destruction of the people and town of Lidice. Over 1,600 people were killed. In 1943, MGM also released a film about Heydrich titled Hitler's Madman.
       According to a November 13, 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item, director Fritz Lang considered using Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem, "The Murder of Lidice," as a prologue to this film. Although the poem does not appear in this film, it was used in Hitler's Madman (see below). An August 1942 Los Angeles Examiner news item reported that the producers were hoping to cast actress Teresa Wright in the film, and Hollywood Reporter reported that John Beal had been cast. Although a still photograph indicates that Ray Middleton was cast in the production, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, the film's premiere in Prague, OK, featured a "hanging in effigy" of Adolf Hitler. This was Bertolt Brecht's first and only U.S. screen credit. Brecht had fled Nazi Germany but returned to Europe in 1947 to avoid questioning by HUAC. According to a modern source, he wrote other American scripts but did not get screen credit on those films. Modern sources report that writer John Wexley earned a solo screenplay credit after he submitted a case to the Writer's Guild claiming that Fritz Lang and Brecht had worked mostly on the original story. Modern sources also note that at the time Brecht was working on the screenplay, he was under investigation by the FBI, as were many German American citizens, due to the war. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture), and Best Sound Recording.