2.5 C
New York
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Advertisement

Hangmen Also Die Blu-ray Review

hangmen-also-die-bluray-coverU.S. Release

– –

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_01

Hangmen Also Die was Fritz Lang’s 1943 anti-Nazi propaganda film veiled in a film noir thriller, and his only collaboration with his friend and fellow German expatriate, the playwright Bertolt Brecht who later disowned the film.

It tells the story of a Czechoslovakian village under Nazi occupation and the stoic villagers who firmly resist their occupiers, including one Dr. Franticek Svoboda AKA Karel Vanek (Brian Donlevy), a Czechoslovakian loyalist and dissident who assassinates the high ranking Nazi officer Reinhard Heydrich (Hans Heinrich von Twardowski). He seeks refuge in the home of Nasha Novotny (Anna Lee) and her father (Walter Brennan) who is already under surveillance and banned from teaching due to his anti-Nazi leanings. When the Nazis can’t find the assassin, they decide to round up 400 villagers and start killing them 40 at a time until the killer either comes forward or someone turns him.

The film is certainly not on par with Lang’s finest, it being filled with many cliché caricatures of villainous Nazis and the impossibly steadfast villagers. Twardowski’s portrayal of Heydrich is so campy it’s less comedic than it is a foreshadowing of Mel Brooks. At least one is a rotund pilsner swiller with a handlebar mustache. Putting that aside, Lang does still manage to build a profound sense of suspense, in part owing to the marvelous cinematography from James Wong Howe, who adds a beautiful sense of light and shade, sharp angles and, when necessary, claustrophobia.

One can put the film in context with the era. Lang and Brecht were only giving American audiences and Hollywood studios what they believed they wanted. On that mark, they scored brilliantly, even if they offered such uninspired or even cheesy dialogue as “Your mothers were slimy rats! Their milk was sewer water!” or “This time you’re going to talk!.” Overlook the fact that, all the Nazis have German accents and the Czechoslovakians have American accents, just to make them more relatable to Middle America, and you have a finely entertaining film.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_02

Hagmen Also Die was restored in collaboration with the BFI and Pinewood Studios in the UK from original film elements including some original nitrate materials from 1943. Cohen Media Group brings it to Blu-ray in a fine looking AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement that, while it does have some rough spots where the image becomes soft and murky, and a bit of inconsistency in its contrast and black levels, looks generally good given its age. Many of the close-ups on faces, in particular, are breathtaking.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_03

The original English monaural soundtrack is included in LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit). It provides clean dialogue with a minimal amount of pops and hiss, though it is still limited in dynamic and frequency range, but that is to be expected.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_04

  • Story of a Hangman: Robert Gerwarth and Reinhard Heydrich 2014 Featurette (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:28:33)
  • 1942 German Newsreel (1.37:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:58)
  • Restoration Before & After Comparison (1080p/24)
  • 2014 Theatrical Re-release Trailer (1.37:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:45)
  • Booklet with photos, credits, and an essay on the film’s production

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_05

Hangmen Also Die cannot live up the brilliance of a Fritz Lang film like Metropolis or M, but it is an entertaining and beautifully filmed wartime film noir thriller.

Additional Screen Captions

[amazon-product]B00KZKWQA2[/amazon-product]

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_06

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_07

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_08

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_09

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_10

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_11

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_12

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_13

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_14

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_15

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_16

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_17

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_18

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_19

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_20

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_21

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_22

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_23

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_24

Hangmen-Also-Die-BD_25

[amazon-product]B00KZKWQA2[/amazon-product]

Advertisement

Related Articles

FX Original Black Narcissus (TV Series Review)

A buttoned-up remake of the classic 'Black Narcissus' in the form of a 3-episode series that portrays the physical and emotional struggle of English nuns to establish a school in a remote palace in the Himalayas.

Perry Mason: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Review)

A complex neo-noir origin story for the famous criminal defense attorney gets a gorgeous Blu-ray release from Warner Bros.

Popeye: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent release on Blu-ray of this long maligned but still fun to watch film.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

301FansLike
0FollowersFollow
724FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

FX Original Black Narcissus (TV Series Review)

A buttoned-up remake of the classic 'Black Narcissus' in the form of a 3-episode series that portrays the physical and emotional struggle of English nuns to establish a school in a remote palace in the Himalayas.

Perry Mason: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Review)

A complex neo-noir origin story for the famous criminal defense attorney gets a gorgeous Blu-ray release from Warner Bros.

Popeye: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent release on Blu-ray of this long maligned but still fun to watch film.

The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy is arriving for the first time on 4K Ultra HD remastered in Dolby Vision and overseen by Peter...

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.
%d bloggers like this: