No war comes without a set of propaganda movies: some clearly intent to change your mind about how evil the other side is, some are merely exploitation.
Let’s face it, earlier on we already reviewed a Sherlock Holmes movie that was set in World War II, where Holmes (Basil Rathbone) tried to outwit the evil Nazis.
Hitler Dead or Alive (1942) is a similar exploitation movie: it’s a propaganda piece that’s so inept it’ll make you smile.
You can download it for free (legally, I like to add) at the Internet Archive or buy it on DVD.
The plot is fabulous: a group of ex-convicts take up the challenge to kill Adolf Hitler for one million dollars. The idea is that, if Hitler is dead, the war will end. Erm… right… that makes sense.
The film is full of such interesting plotlines. Here’s another one: the convicts are arrested and manage to conceal their plans by pouring pudding all over the hidden microphones (the microphones are hidden behind the cardboard walls, by the way).
I generally don’t like spoiling movies, but this is the sort of Badmovie which is enjoyed even more because you know what’ll happen. But if you don’t want to know: don’t read on…
You’re reading on? Okay, let me spoil some more of the plot (“plot”, used in the lightest possible meaning of the word): our heroes manage to get so close to Hitler they can capture him (see photo). The fierce Nazis want to kill our heroes, but Hitler begs for mercy. That is why our heroes manage to escape, with Hitler as a prisoner.
Because they don’t want everyone to see they’ve kidnapped Hitler… they shave off his moustache. This makes him completely unrecognizable. Which isn’t that strange: after all the actor who has to portray Htiler (Bobby Watson) doesn’t really look that much like the Führer. That Watson played Hitler several times came as a gigantic surprise to me.
Anyway, this leads to a catastrophic ending: the heroes are captured, as is Hitler. Not a single Nazi manages to recognize their leader without his moustache (I’m telling you, this is truly the plot outline!) and Adolf Hitler is shot. Along with our heroes and – for good measure – a bunch of innocent children. You see, we were almost starting to forget how evil the Nazis were.
Sadly, the war didn’t stop there and Germany is being led by a lookalike of Adolf Hitler (hrmm, heard that before). Surely they can find four other volunteers to shave off his moustache??
I can only recommend you to watch Hitler Dead or Alive, if only because it’s good to know that this sort of propaganda movies existed. I couldn’t take it serious for one minute and truly nothing pleads in the movie’s favour, but sixty years later it has finally become what it should’ve been called all along: a badmovie.