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Hitler, Dead or Alive
Hitler Dead or Alive
Actor: Fleix Basch
Genres: Action & Adventure, Military & War
NR     2004     1hr 11min

No Description Available. Genre: Feature Film-Action/Adventure Rating: NR Release Date: 25-MAY-2004 Media Type: DVD


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Movie Details

Actor: Fleix Basch
Genres: Action & Adventure, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Military & War
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 05/25/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 11min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

"I've never done nothing smalltime in my life."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 02/22/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Hitler Dead or Alive (1942)...I really wasn't expecting a whole lot from this film, but it did present an interesting idea buried under a steaming pile composed of shrilly propaganda, shallow patriotism, and a plot more befitting a Three Stooges short. The idea I am referring to is could the assassination of Hitler have changed the course of history? Given that he was such a dominate and outspoken leader, one could speculate that his death could have effectively demoralized his followers and seriously crippled the Nazi war machine, but others would put forth that the void would have been filled by more competent leadership, effectively extending the war much longer than it lasted. Either way, the film only touches upon this briefly, before returning to wallow in its' own slightly charming, naiveté. Directed by Nick Grinde (The Captain's Kid, Jail Break), the film stars Ward Bond (It's a Wonderful Life, The Searchers). Also appearing is Warren Hymer (Destry Rides Again), Paul Fix (To Kill a Mockingbird), Dorothy Tree (Knute Rockne All American), Bruce Edwards (The Black Widow), and Bobby Watson (The Big Clock) as Der Fuhrer...a role he seemed relegated to (he played the same character in at least ten other films) during the last half of his career, until his death in 1965.'s the deal...a wealthy American advertises a $1,000,000 reward for Hitler's head (actually the deal stipulates dead OR alive, but that's pretty much meaningless as everyone knows it's easier to deal with a dead captive than a live one). This peaks the interest of recently paroled gangster Steve Maschick (Bond) and his two `associates' in Dutch (Hymer), who's your typical dumb muscle/repellent comedic type, and Joe (Fix), the smart, edjumacated one (he's small, wears glasses, and reads which means he's smart...get it?). After accepting the contract, the gang make their way to Canada, joins the Royal Canadian Air Force, makes their way to Europe, hijacks a plane (along with ace pilot Johnny Stevens, played by Edwards) to Germany, to which they parachute near one of Hitler's bases, steal a beer truck, get caught, thrown in prison, escape, meet up with an underground resistance group, and eventually masquerade as members of a musical quartet, infiltrating a small, official gathering with Der Fuhrer in attendance. Now all they have to do is cap their mark and collect the moolah...oh yeah, there's also the small matter of getting out of Germany with their skins intact, but that's a relatively trivial detail, especially if you bought the rest of this hokum.

If you can turn a blind eye to the unbelievable nature of the plot, you might actually enjoy this odd little film. It would have helped had it been presented as a comedy (that's how it came off to me, but I'm sure it was unintentional on the filmmaker's part), especially when it came to depicting the Nazis as complete, bumbling idiots, who, by the way, sported some of the worst German accents I've ever heard `I haff vays of makings you talk!' (Check out the German eavesdropping on the cell after our plucky group gets captured for a great example of this). One of my favorite parts of the film was when the gang hijacked the plane, directed the pilot fly towards Germany, and, on learning a German fighter plane hot on their heels, Dutch goes to the door with a Tommy gun, proceeds to lean out and shoot the pursuing plane out of the sky (I was unaware those guns had such range, much less the accuracy). For me, the real comedy came in the form of the optimism within the gang with regards to the relative ease to which they believed they could complete their task. Were audiences of the day really so gullible as to buy this? I suppose given the fact the film came out so early with regards to America's entry into the war, there was a great deal of optimistic faith with our ability to deal with the situation, which changed to some degree as the war dragged on...oh yeah, I also really loved how relatively few of the German Soldiers picked up on the gang's American accents, accepting them as Nazis based solely on the fact they were sporting stolen Nazi uniforms and threw up the occasional `Heil' salute...I don't know, maybe the Nazis were depicted as being so moronic because that's what we wanted to believe, along with the fleeting hope that victory would come easy. The performances were entertaining, albeit completely unbelievable. Bond is most well known as a supporting character actor, appearing in a slew of legendary films such as those already mentioned, along with Gone with the Wind, The Maltese Falcon, and Mister Roberts, to name a few more, and carries the film in a rare starring role. His co-stars in Hymer and Fix were certainly no slouches either, all three appearing in some 600 plus films combined. Early on I had forgone any notion of realism and enjoyed the silliness, much like one would watching a Bowery Boys film, but the momentum dropped off severely as the story interjected a lethal dose of propaganda followed by a patriotic sledgehammer to the head illustrated by Dutch's impassioned declaration to the camera following the senseless slaughter of some village locals Pardon the pun, but this just seemed like overkill, presented just in case we weren't aware of how bad the Nazis really were...this tactic wasn't uncommon in films of the time, but few seemed as blatant, in my opinion.

The picture quality on this Alpha DVD is very poor (grainy, washed out, age deterioration) followed up by a poor transfer (a few `pixalation' issues confined to the right side of the screen), but the audio was surprisingly decent. Extras include odd trailers for A Chronicle of Corpses (2000) and Magdalen (1998), along with a visual listing of other Alpha cheapie titles. If you liked this film, check out Cowboy Commandos (1943) for similar fun.

Ward Bond's war bond movie
Steven Hellerstedt | 02/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Three gangsters, recently released from prison, sign a million dollar contract with an eccentric millionaire to travel to Germany and do in Der Furhrer.
HITLER: DEAD OR ALIVE was released in Chicago in November, 1942 and nationally the following spring. Like many, if not most, Hollywood products, it's long on emotional truth and short on facts. It was obviously made very soon after America's entry into World War Two. There's a gung-ho, optimistic attitude to it. There's also an embarrassing underestimation of the work required to defeat Nazi Germany. In the coming years America would grow wary and weary, and it would be reflected in her films, but in the early years the flame of confidence burned bright.
Ward Bond, Warren Hymer and Paul Fix play the three ex-convicts in what were then stereotypical roles - Bond was the sturdy rock of the gang, Hymer the comic relief and Fix the brains. In a series of improbable scenes the boys sign the contract with the millionaire (Oh, we'll get Hitler, all right!), join the Canadian Army, become paratroopers, hijack a plane and parachute deep into German territory. Working on the theory that you don't have to worry about stretching credibility after you've already torn it to shreds, our intrepid trio not only make it into the heart of Germany, get jailed and bust out, they also manage to arrange to confront Hitler in person.
Send a thug to catch a thug, I guess. Remarkably, this fluff is presented with a straight face. There's a curtain-closing message snarled out by the always watchable Ward Bond, which was probably strong enough to have the audience reaching in their wallets for the big bills for the war bonds they must have been selling at whatever theater this one was playing in.
I have a soft spot in my heart - or maybe someplace a little north of that - for old B-movies and war movies made during the war. With that caveat firmly in place, I recommend HITLER: DEAD OR ALIVE.

One of the most unusual U.S. WWII propaganda films
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 11/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Hitler, Dead or Alive isn't your typical wartime propaganda film, but it may be my new favorite. Rather than playing up all the brave warriors who would soon be on their way to stamp out National Socialism forever, this story features a trio of gangsters as the heroes - and make no mistake, they are all heroes by the time this 70-minute film runs its course. It makes for an interesting statement - here you have what would be considered the dregs of American society giving their all in the war effort and absolutely earning the right to be called great Americans. As for Hitler, well, our boys pretty much stomp a mud hole in his fierce persona as they secure for him the most gloriously ironic and fitting ending possible. The ending is just fantastic.

The year was 1942. The Japanese treachery at Pearl Harbor still burned viscerally, and America's war spirit against Germany was growing by the day - although there were doubtless still some whose fervor for war in Europe was - for personal, political, or economic reasons - nascent at best. You have to remember that even the horrors of the Final Solution were unknown at this time. There is no gray area in this black and white propaganda film, though - Hitler (played by Bob Watson) is vividly portrayed as a cowardly bully hell-bent on world domination.

When his German brother is killed for speaking out against Hitler, scientist Samuel Thornton (Russell Hicks) makes the bold move of putting a one million dollar bounty on the Fuehrer's head. Three gangsters - Steve Maschick (Ward Bond), Hans "Dutch" Havermann (Warren Hymer), and Joe "The Book" Conway (Paul Fix) - fresh out of Alcatraz think it's their lucky day and quickly take up the challenge, confident that they can take out Hitler the same way they've taken out other power-hungry thugs in the past. They head up to Canada, join the Air Force, and become parachutists; that puts them just one hijacked pilot - enter Johnny Stevens (Bruce Edwards) - away from hitting the ground in Deutschland. Good old Steve is one smooth talker, turning the gangs' arrest into a free trip to the local German headquarters (which happens to be a pre-infamous Dachau) and convincing the man in charge that they are on a secret mission for the Fuehrer and have vital information which they can only deliver to Hitler personally. Of course, all of Steve's seemingly impromptu plans are helped along quite a bit by the fact that every Nazi in the film basically makes Col. Klink look like Erwin Rommel.

As events progress, Steve's attitude toward the job at hand changes. Initially, he and his boys are only in it for the money. Once they come in contact with an underground resistance movement, though, the evils of Hitler's regime (which are grossly exaggerated, to tell the truth) really get Steve's dander up. Even before Hitler shows up to make an impromptu speech about his plans for subjugating America and the world, Steve is determined to kill the dictator at any cost.

It bothers me that some modern-day folks take an elitist view of this film, mocking its hammer-over-the-head, "shallow patriotism." Where I come from, there's no such thing as a shallow brand of patriotism. Ridicule the story's ridiculous plot all you want, but the patriotic message of this film is as valid and inspiring now as it was back in 1942, and Ward Bond makes his final delivery of that message a most powerful one indeed. I might also point out that the film is actually more nuanced than you might expect. Not only does it concede the fact that Hitler's death might not be sufficient to end the war, it also goes out of its way to praise the many Germans actively working underground against their own fascist government. Personally, I think this really is one of America's best World War II propaganda films."
Geez, the movie was FUN to watch
Mark R. Garner | New Orleans, LA USA | 09/22/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

So, three former inmates from Alcatraz enter into a contract to rub out an ultimate bug (Hitler). I watched this movie last night and I loved it. It isn't the most compelling film you'll ever see but it was entertaining. Okay, it is a bit hokey but when viewed sixty-five years later, it's a real hoot. Sadly Hollywood no longer has the guts to make a movie like this unless it was to "illustrate" the motivation of our enemies, something they call 'being objective'. They would only do something like this if it were a 'Naked Gun' style spoof. (Hollywood liberals; tsk-tsk-tsk.) So, what's wrong with patriotism? The mobster guys turn out to be true-blue. (These were my kind of gangsters - they rob banks and break out of jails but when jack-booted thugs start killing kids, well they won't stand for that!) I loved the fact that Hitler was portrayed as a wuss once he was cornered by the gangsters. I won't spoil the ending but I dug it. Oh, btw, if you are a right-wing, God-fearing, conservative Republican-type then you will love this movie. If you aren't, well, who cares? Buy this movie - spending money is good for the economy."