The Strange Death of Adolf Hitler (1943)

72 mins | Drama | 10 September 1943

Full page view
HISTORY

The film opens with the following written foreword: "Austria!...First of the unfortunate countries to fall under the heel of Nazi tyranny. A people subjugated and forced to do the work and bidding of a conqueror. Vienna, 1942." Although an Apr 1942 HR news item announced that Universal had purchased the film rights to an anonymous book called The Strange Death of Hitler in Feb 1942, all other sources state that the film is based on an original story by Fritz Kortner and Joe May.
       According to HR , May was originally assigned by Universal to direct the film, but quit the project as production began due to a disagreement with the studio over the film's budget; he was replaced by James Hogan. The extent of May's directorial contribution to the released film has not been determined. A HR news item includes opera singer Frank O. Lynn in the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The HR review made note of the "unbilled" performance of "Robert O. Davis," unaware that the actor had recently changed his name to Rudolph ... More Less

The film opens with the following written foreword: "Austria!...First of the unfortunate countries to fall under the heel of Nazi tyranny. A people subjugated and forced to do the work and bidding of a conqueror. Vienna, 1942." Although an Apr 1942 HR news item announced that Universal had purchased the film rights to an anonymous book called The Strange Death of Hitler in Feb 1942, all other sources state that the film is based on an original story by Fritz Kortner and Joe May.
       According to HR , May was originally assigned by Universal to direct the film, but quit the project as production began due to a disagreement with the studio over the film's budget; he was replaced by James Hogan. The extent of May's directorial contribution to the released film has not been determined. A HR news item includes opera singer Frank O. Lynn in the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The HR review made note of the "unbilled" performance of "Robert O. Davis," unaware that the actor had recently changed his name to Rudolph Anders. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Sep 1943.
---
Daily Variety
26 Aug 43
p. 3, 7
Film Daily
28 Oct 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 43
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 43
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 43
p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Sep 43
p. 1522.
New York Times
9 Oct 43
p. 11.
Variety
13 Oct 43
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] tech
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 September 1943
Production Date:
14 June--mid July 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
3 September 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12287
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
72
Length(in feet):
6,654
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9556
SYNOPSIS

In his office one day, minor Viennese city official Franz Huber does an imitation of Adolf Hitler for a co-worker, Graub. Later, after an evening's entertainment with his family and their friend, Swiss diplomat Herman Marbach, two Gestapo officials enter the Huber home and arrest Franz. He is then taken to Gestapo headquarters in Berlin and questioned by Major Mampe and Colonel Von Zechwitz, who inform him that he has been charged with treason. Franz pleads his innocence, then performs an imitation of Von Zechwitz to show his true nature. Although he is assured of his imminent release, Franz is knocked out and carried to a secret hospital, where doctors perform plastic surgery on him, giving him the facial features of Hitler. In the meantime, Franz's wife Anna and Marbach are informed that Franz has been executed as a traitor. A few days later, doctors remove Franz's facial bandages, and the Austrian discovers his terrible plight. When he tries to fight his abductors, he is warned that both he and his family will be executed if he does not cooperate fully. The Nazi officials then inform Franz that he is to become Hitler's double. As months go by, the Huber children, Hansl and Viki, once ostracized by the other school children for their father's "crime," join the Hitler Youth movement and disavow Franz. After her neighbor, Frau Reitler, attempts suicide after being raped by German soldiers on furlough, Anna is visited by three soldiers from the war front and ordered to billet them in her home. When she injures one of the soldiers who is attempting to molest her, Anna is tried in a ... +


In his office one day, minor Viennese city official Franz Huber does an imitation of Adolf Hitler for a co-worker, Graub. Later, after an evening's entertainment with his family and their friend, Swiss diplomat Herman Marbach, two Gestapo officials enter the Huber home and arrest Franz. He is then taken to Gestapo headquarters in Berlin and questioned by Major Mampe and Colonel Von Zechwitz, who inform him that he has been charged with treason. Franz pleads his innocence, then performs an imitation of Von Zechwitz to show his true nature. Although he is assured of his imminent release, Franz is knocked out and carried to a secret hospital, where doctors perform plastic surgery on him, giving him the facial features of Hitler. In the meantime, Franz's wife Anna and Marbach are informed that Franz has been executed as a traitor. A few days later, doctors remove Franz's facial bandages, and the Austrian discovers his terrible plight. When he tries to fight his abductors, he is warned that both he and his family will be executed if he does not cooperate fully. The Nazi officials then inform Franz that he is to become Hitler's double. As months go by, the Huber children, Hansl and Viki, once ostracized by the other school children for their father's "crime," join the Hitler Youth movement and disavow Franz. After her neighbor, Frau Reitler, attempts suicide after being raped by German soldiers on furlough, Anna is visited by three soldiers from the war front and ordered to billet them in her home. When she injures one of the soldiers who is attempting to molest her, Anna is tried in a Nazi court and told by the judge that it is her patriotic duty to have carnal relations with German soldiers. Marbach comes to her aid, however, stating that they are engaged. The two then immediately marry, saving her from further military demands. Later, while Hitler meets with his generals to discuss the Russian campaign, Franz is sent to Vienna to meet with Duchess Eugenie. After getting his guests drunk, he sneaks back to his old home, where his children, mistaking him for a German officer, tell him about Anna's marriage to Marbach. He then meets with Marbach, and the two plot to kill the real Hitler upon his return to Vienna. Anna, in turn, has her own plot to kill Hitler, as she blames him for the emotional loss of her children. As Hitler, Franz delivers a speech in the park and is approached by Anna, who begs for the return of her children. Franz orders his guards to take Anna back to his hotel, where the real Hitler awaits. At the same time, Marbach informs Bauer, a city hall employee who is now part of the underground movement, of Franz's assassination plot, and the two plan the double's escape. Their plot is foiled, however, when Anna confronts her husband and kills him before he can identify himself. Anna, in turn, is gunned down by Franz's Gestapo guards. Learning of the shootings, the German general staff celebrates the death of "the little colonel," only to have the real Hitler arrive at their meeting and arrest the entire group. As the German leader prepares to address the crowd, Marbach tells Bauer what a pity it is that the real Hitler was not killed, but is told by the underground leader that there will be no peace until all of Hitler's men are killed. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.