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An interesting analysis of "HANGMEN ALSO DIE"


FredCDobbs
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“Back in 2000 -- ten years ago, somebody get me off this carousel -- I was unaware of Kino Video's release of Fritz Lang's 1943 film Hangmen Also Die! until it suddenly popped up in front of me in a used bin in a neighborhood music store that friend Wayne Schmidt had told me about. Remember independent music stores? The disc's video and audio were rough but the movie was fascinating. Few morale-building studio films made during the war had the bite of this Lang epic, made by a refugee from Naziism clearly eager to use his craft as a political weapon.

 

At its conclusion, the Kino disc suffered from a jarring jump cut that piqued my curiosity: whenever somebody gets sneaky and cuts something out of a movie, it's time to call in the film detectives. I've already reported the jaw-dropping excision of an entire final reel from Lang's wartime spy movie Cloak and Dagger, a change that smacks of immediate postwar political 'adjustments' that wanted the public to stop hating Nazis and start hating Communists. And Lang's very first American film Fury has a curiously 'revised' final courtroom scene, where Spencer Tracy begins to say something very bitter about American justice, but then reverses himself and becomes contrite and humble. Across a cut, Tracy's haircut and costume seem different, and he's also suddenly filmed against a rear-projected courtroom. Savant's verdict: somebody decided to alter the movie after Lang was finished filming.”

 

MORE HERE:

 

http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s3351die.html

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Quote:

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“Back in 2000 -- ten years ago, somebody get me off this carousel -- I was unaware of Kino Video's release of Fritz Lang's 1943 film Hangmen Also Die! until it suddenly popped up in front of me in a used bin in a neighborhood music store that friend Wayne Schmidt had told me about. Remember independent music stores? The disc's video and audio were rough but the movie was fascinating. Few morale-building studio films made during the war had the bite of this Lang epic, made by a refugee from Naziism clearly eager to use his craft as a political weapon.

 

At its conclusion, the Kino disc suffered from a jarring jump cut that piqued my curiosity: whenever somebody gets sneaky and cuts something out of a movie, it's time to call in the film detectives. I've already reported the jaw-dropping excision of an entire final reel from Lang's wartime spy movie Cloak and Dagger, a change that smacks of immediate postwar political 'adjustments' that wanted the public to stop hating Nazis and start hating Communists. And Lang's very first American film Fury has a curiously 'revised' final courtroom scene, where Spencer Tracy begins to say something very bitter about American justice, but then reverses himself and becomes contrite and humble. Across a cut, Tracy's haircut and costume seem different, and he's also suddenly filmed against a rear-projected courtroom. Savant's verdict: somebody decided to alter the movie after Lang was finished filming.”

 

MORE HERE:

 

http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s3351die.html

The German villains renege on their promises and execute a group of hostages, including the heroine's brave father.

 

Really. How about that.

 

It was still a magnificent movie.

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According to what this guy says, some old films had scenes edited out, within a year or two after their production, so they would be more "appropriate" for later audiences, and apparently there are some rare copies of HANGMAN floating around that still contain the original scenes that were edited out many years ago.

 

It's like the way KING KONG and FRANKENSTEIN had some violent scenes removed not long after the films were made, so they could still be distributed under the terms of the new movie Code, after the Code went into effect in mid-1934.

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According to what this guy says, some old films had scenes edited out, within a year or two after their production, so they would be more "appropriate" for later audiences, and apparently there are some rare copies of HANGMAN floating around that still contain the original scenes that were edited out many years ago.

 

It's like the way KING KONG and FRANKENSTEIN had some violent scenes removed not long after the films were made, so they could still be distributed under the terms of the new movie Code, after the Code went into effect in mid-1934.

I haven't watched either in a long time. Do they still show the Monster throwing the kid into the water to see if she floats? Also, do they show Kong squishing the native into the ground with his foot?

 

Powerful stuff, seen for the first time. I'd hate to think these scenes were scrubbed so the namby pamby wouldn't get upset.

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I haven't watched either in a long time. Do they still show the Monster throwing the kid into the water to see if she floats? Also, do they show Kong squishing the native into the ground with his foot?

 

 

 

Yes, those scenes have been back in the films for 10 or more years.

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Powerful stuff, seen for the first time. I'd hate to think these scenes were scrubbed so the namby pamby wouldn't get upset.

 

The way I heard the story back in the old days was that those types of scenes weren't allowed because they might give some crazy guys ideas..... shuch as shooting up theater audiences, blowing people up with pressure cooker bombs, throwing kids in lakes, etc.

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The way I heard the story back in the old days was that those types of scenes weren't allowed because they might give some crazy guys ideas..... shuch as shooting up theater audiences, blowing people up with pressure cooker bombs, throwing kids in lakes, etc.

Yes, thank God that stuff could never happen now.

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The German villains renege on their promises and execute a group of hostages, including the heroine's brave father.

 

I'd kind of suspected that. We said goodbye to him too many times to go back on it. I didn't notice the jump-cut, though. Thanks for the article, Fred, that clears up a big question mark on that film.

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