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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nachts, Wenn Der Teufel Kam (aka The Devil Strikes At Night) (1957)

In 1944 Nazi Germany, a serial killer (Mario Adorf) goes undetected for years. But when a man (Werner Peters) is convicted of the murders, an investigating officer (Claus Holm) has serious doubts about his guilt. When the missing purse of one of the victims is turned in to the police, it leads to the arrest of the real serial killer. But under the morally bankrupt Third Reich, can justice be done? Loosely based on the case of Bruno Ludke, an alleged serial killer who murdered over 50 people between 1928 and 1943. The director Robert Siodmak was one of many German emigres who fled Hitler's Germany to work in Hollywood and he is best known for such noir classics like THE KILLERS and CRISS CROSS. He returned to Germany in the mid fifties to work and this Oscar nominated (best foreign language) film is his most admired post Hollywood film. It's a superbly done film although the outrage one would normally feel at a miscarriage of justice is tempered by the fact that this is, after all, Nazi Germany. A government whose mass murder of innocent Jews and others dwarfs the 50 odd victims of a serial killer. Still, it's an intense and deeply disturbing film. With Annemarie Duringer,  Hannes Messemer and Carl Lange.

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