Sunday, May 31, 2009

Movie Review: Hangmen Also Die

Caught this movie on TCM and found it fascinating. It is the story of the assassination of Reynhard Heidrich, Hitler's overseer in Prague, and the results, which included the killing of many hostages. The movie is not very true to the real story of the assassination, but the whole story was not known in 1943 when the movie came out. And I find it fascinating that the movie came out while the war was still going on. It is quite an adventurous yarn, but it must have had even better effects as showing the civilian population some of what they were fighting the war for, in showing how rotten the Nazi regime was and the awful choices that the Czechs were forced to make to survive.

I did a paper on Heydrich in college, and he was fascinating in a horrible way. He was highly intelligent, and could have been a force for good in the world. Instead he did things like coordinate the gathering of intelligences from Hitler's brothels, come up with the ideas for the genocidal Final Solution, and ruled the Czechs with typical Nazi brutality. I had to wonder how such a person could live with himself, and got an interesting clue from one event in his life. He had been out drinking and came home. As he came in he saw his reflection in a mirror, pulled out his gun, and shot the mirror. That, to me, argues self-hatred in a big, but ineffectual, way.

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