Connoisseurs of bad movies rank this execration as an all-time favorite, rivaling Ed Wood's infamous Plan 9 from Outer Space as the worst film of all time. The trouble began in the early 1950s when a film called Madmen ... more »of Mandoras was shot and shelved for no mysterious reason at all. The film boasted the great cinematographer, Stanley Cortez (The Magnificent Ambersons), whose gorgeously evocative photography makes a startling contrast to the inexplicable plot with which it seems to coexist. But that wasn't bad enough, so in the early 1960s some UCLA film students shot additional footage, somewhat differently styled (think Mod Squad meets cinéma vérité porno), and intercut it with the original film as if the two were meant for each other. The resultant jumble concerns a pair of modish CID agents on the trail of a kidnapped scientist, Nerve Gas-G, an antidote, the resurgence of the Fourth Reich on the Caribbean island of Mandoras, and Hitler's severed head barking orders from a jar. Here are but a few of the absurdities awaiting you: The swastika is backward, one obtuse character has to pull the car over to discover that her partner was shot even though she was present at the event, and when Hitler's head bites the big one, it melts. Critic J. Hoberman, in his seminal article, Bad Movies, observed that this film fairly makes the brain explode with ideas. Not only that, but aneurysms. You'll be screaming, "Mein Kopf! Mein Kopf!" just as Hitler's head should have, if only there had been the budget for that. --Jim Gay« less
Samantha K. (entilzah) from OSCODA, MI Reviewed on 9/7/2009...
Wow never heard of this one and really can't see me running to watch it anytime soon
1 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Max D. from SAN FRANCISCO, CA Reviewed on 11/24/2008...
You think you've seen the worst movie ever made? Not if you haven't seen this pile of cinema. Amazingly bad! Phenomenally, excruciatingly bad! Must be seen to be believed!!
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
A SAN-S PRODUCTION
Thomas E. O'Sullivan | Knoxville, Maryland United States | 09/13/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Mention this title today to anyone and they will think you're joking. Who really would have ever made a movie called THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN?... well, I've seen the movie, and I have the DVD now, and I still don't know who would have made this kind of movie... but here it is. Started in the 1950's and completed by a few UCLA students in the 1960's and then finally released to the world, T.S.H.B. is considered by many to be the true "worst movie ever made". Does it steal any thunder from PLAN NINE? Oh yes, this is indeed a poor movie all around... yet made by experienced people. The 1960's additional scenes serve merely as exposition, filling in the missing details and information and star a Young Ron Jeremy type working with the CID, who is partnered with a Well-Fed Alicia Silverstone wannabe dressed as a ready and able (and seemingly willing) school girl (who is perhaps the best actor in the 60's footage) who drives a beat up VW Bug. They are not in it for long, and are in fact killed off... big surprise. As for the rest of the movie... it's a trial. Painful. A true test of will... can you sit through it? RHINO has done a good job with the transfer and actually has added perhaps one of the best, and funniest, antimated menu's I've ever seen on any DVD. It features the head of Hitler spouting some unintelligable German. His eyebrows move, his mouth, and his head dances around when he talks... very odd, but lay down funny. I recommend this movie, and I recommend buying this DVD if only to impress your friends that you actually own something called... THEY SAVED HITLERS BRAIN."
"The slappers of women! The torturers of old men!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 01/05/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Why am I drawn to bad movies like a fly to a steaming pile of excrement (this metaphor is exceptionally appropriate given the film being reviewed)? I've never really given it much thought, but I suppose it's a similar reaction people display when driving by a particularly bad car wreck...you don't want to look, but morbid curiosity is a compelling, often intrinsic, trait among humans. As far as car wrecks go, cinematically speaking, They Saved Hitler's Brain (1963) is a real doozy...the film is actually two movies (the original made in the late 50's to early 60's but never released for some unknown reason, and new footage filmed in the mid to late 60's) spliced together, like some twisted Frankenstein experiment. Apparently the company that owned the original film, Crown International (purveyors of schlock), got some UCLA film students to produce the new footage, and then, in an extremely futile attempt, married the two in the unholy union that is this film (director Al Adamson made a career on doing this, most notably with his 1971 monster mash Dracula Vs. Frankenstein).
The film, originally titled Madmen of Mandoras aka Amazing Mr. H aka The Return of Mr. H (before the celluloid mating) was directed by David Bradley, whose earlier films include a juvenile delinquent picture titled Dragstrip Riot (1958) and the epic sci-fi craptacular 12 to the Moon (1960). The film stars Walter Stocker (Lassie's Great Adventure) and Audrey Caire, who seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place her until I looked up her credits as saw she also appeared in Joe (1970), one of my more favorite films of the early 70's. Also appearing is John Holland (The Naked Brigade), Carlos Rivas (True Grit), Marshall Reed (Ghost of Zorro), Scott Peters (Panic in Year Zero!), Nestor Paiva (The Three Stooges in Orbit, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter), and Bill Freed (who later adapted Dean R. Koontz's novel Watchers into the 1988 film of the same name) as Adolf Hitler, or, at least his head.
The film starts out with the newer footage (which actually looks worse than the older footage), relating some kind of story regarding secret agents, nerve gas, and various murders. The main character, named Vic (who looks a lot like Chuck Negron, the original lead singer from the 70's band Three Dog Night) is a secret agent assigned to investigate the death of a scientist, but he himself eventually dies in a fiery car crash (actually his death is represented by footage taken from the 1958 feature Thunder Road, starring Robert Mitchum). All of this takes about 27 minutes, and then we cut into another film, already in progress, featuring the actors I listed above (the actors in the newer footage are not listed in any credits). From here we follow the exploits of Phil Day (Stocker) and his wife Kathy (Caire) as they travel to the tiny Caribbean Island nation of Mandoras to locate Kathy's recently kidnapped father, a scientist who developed an antidote to a deadly nerve gas. Phil and Kathy soon learn a handful of Nazis, lead by Hitler's head, and their nefarious plans to take control of the world. Will Phil and Kathy be able to stop the madness, or will the Third Reich finally achieve the goals it set for itself some 20 years ago? Their plan seems pretty rock solid, so things don't look good...
I'm unsure why the newer footage was added, especially since it matched up so poorly (it looked like a bunch of laid-back hippies running around, compared to the more conservatively attired characters in the original footage). The original film is actually not a bad little B film (at least, compared to the newer footage), but I suspect some of the original footage may have been lost (or never filmed), hence the addition of the newer material, as to try and provide a setting for the older material. Thing is, the newer stuff was shot so very poorly, lacking any sense of direction (hey, it's daytime...no wait, it's night...oops, it's daytime again), and I was able to piece together much of the intended story from the original footage I didn't need the newer material. And that music for the newer material...27 minutes of really crummy free form jazz...the horror, the horror...the concept of saving Hitler's head seemed kinda cool, but what was probably meant to be a shocking surprise (the whole plot of Hitler's head plotting a conspiracy) was effectively ruined by the newer title. The special effects are pretty much what you might expect, with Hitler's head, when not being carried around in a jar, sitting atop an older model videotape machine. Freed's head did look a little creepy, sort of bug-eyed and slightly emaciated, with his only dialog, as a disembodied head, being `Mach Schnell! Mach Schnell!' (I guess one would probably get pretty cranky and impatient surviving in a jar, relying on the charity of others...I wonder which lackey got the job of trimming his little moustache?) My favorite scene has to be when Phil and Kathy get kidnapped by a mysterious Hispanic man, and as they come to a stop light, another car pulls up, shoots the Hispanic man dead, but the couple, who are in the car with the now dead man, don't realize he's dead until much later, eventually stuffing his corpse into a phone booth, the intent being someone will find him (and someone does, in the form of an impatient, rotund lady wanting to use said phone...oh the comedy!)
The Rhino release specifies this is the uncut, 92-minute version (it felt much longer), newly transferred from 35mm elements. The picture quality isn't all that great, but it's probably the best you'll find, surpassing that old VHS copy you own. The audio is about as good as the picture quality (which is to say not all the great). There is a menu (featuring a nifty animated Hitler head), and a listing of other Rhino titles.
With a wife like you who needs a girlfriend?
Johny Bottom | Jacksonville, NC | 08/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oh what a hoot. I'm giving this film 5 stars for a different reason. Movies that are so bad they are 'good' make my day. 'Cat Women of the Moon', 'Plan 9 from Outer Space', and 'Robot Monster' all have a certain charm that exceeds the actual film. 'They saved Hitler's Brain' is another such movie. I give it 5 stars when thrown on with other famous bad movies, it holds it's own. It has everything a bad movie fan could want. An inane plot, mediocre acting at best, and the over the top 'not so special' effects.
A small Carribean Island called Manduras is a hideout for Nazis who want to take over the world. And why shouldn't they try again? Der Fuhrer is among them as a head in a glass jar. Guess that's where Matt Groening got the idea for his incredible 'Futurama' cartoon show. Listening to the little Hitler head in the glass jar barking out orders is just a hoot. I also loves how he just moves his eyes from side to side looking all sinister and stuff.
My two favorite scenes are the car chase and hotel fight. The car chase is right out of the mind of Ed Wood. They start driving in daylight, then the headlights are on in the dark, then at the crash, it's light again. Brilliant! It's too bad that agent died. With that hair and mustache he looked like Sony Bono meets Journey's Steve Perry. His very appearance was pure camp. Then you got the hotel scene. She hits the wrong guy with the lamp. How could she be so stupid?
A lot of people will say how much they love the "Hitler head melting" scene. Sure it's cool, but you have 92 minutes of pure hilarity to enjoy before the big climax.
If you love bad, bad, really bad movies, then this is perfect for you."
Why Did They Save, THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN?
Joseph A. Jenkins Jr. | Forestville, MD United States | 12/17/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"What can I say good about this movie? Hum, well the menu on the DVD from RHINO is quite funny. As for the rest, it is pretty bad.The existing prints must be in poor shape. Despite the advertisement that it is a "new transfer from 35 mm film elements," the picture suffers from scratches, jitters, and a host of sound problems. The soundtrack develops that machine-gun rattle that is so common in old prints that no longer track well for the screen. Indeed, I have never heard this amount of hissing and cracking on a legitimate mainline DVD soundtrack. Portions of the movie, mostly at the beginning, give a parallel storyline that was added by UCLA film students in the 1960's (1963 I believe). It really does not sync with the older 1950's footage that features better acting and scripting. Indeed, removal of the appended material might make for a better film. It was added for theatrical length and to help flush out the kidnapping and secret weapon details. All it really does is add length, stretching the movie to 92 minutes. While some bad movies are fun, this one is just mostly bad. Ed Wood could have done better.Once the entire cast from the first part of the movie are killed off, the film starts in earnest with the older material. The plot should be simple but the extraneous material confuses things. Professor Coleman has created an antidote to a potent new nerve gas. He is kidnapped by Nazis holding up in Mandoras (South America). The evil men worship Hitler's animated head in a mason jar. The professor's daughter and son-in-law must save the day before the Nazis take over the world. The identities of the actors in the added material are not clarified. The film was also called MADMEN OF MANDORAS and THE RETURN OF MR. H. There are several bloopers, much related to the harsh transition between the 1960's and 1950's cultures (dress, music, dance, etc.). There is also a car chase where shots alternate between night and day.Here is a little tidbit. Bill Freed, who plays Hitler's head in a jar, would later author the screenplay for Koontz' book, THE WATCHERS.>No nudity.
>Mild plot violence.
>No graphic gore.
>No vulgar language."
The worst film I've ever seen - I loved it!
biff_kendu | Hollywood, CA USA | 07/19/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Let me start by prefacing that I am a huge fan of bad film, and this film is the worst ever. I was originally dared by my high-school English teacher to watch this film for extra credit and fell in love with it. The premise: Nazi troops preserve Hitler's brain (actually his entire head) in order to save his strategic saavy and flee to South America. Of course, Nazi hunters happen to run into them and discover the *shocking* truth about their plan to use Hitler's Head on a Box to rise again and dominate the world. The Nazi hunters foil their plan and save the day. What makes this film truly enjoyable is that you'll spend the entire time trying to figure out what is going on. The beginning of the film was shot 20 years after the rest of the footage and has 70's b-movie actors discovering the Nazi hideout in South America, leading to the gratuitous exploding car. Then we are whisked away to South America, the original film stock, where the rest of the movie unfolds. The funniest thing about this film is that the Nazis preserved Hitler so he could say two words over and over again: 'Hurry up!' (translated from the German). Good thing they saved his head! This film is bad, bad, bad; so bad it is enjoyable to watch, just like an Ed Wood film."