The Horror and The Homefront
HITLER’S CHILDREN (1943) RKO’s searing drama, inspired by Gregor Ziemer’s “Education for Death,” depicts a young American girl’s fate when she is declared to be a native by a nation determined to turn its kinders into killers. Bonita Granville plays Anna Muller, declared to be a German citizen by the Gestapo as war looms over Europe. Tim Holt plays Karl Bruner, the Gestapo lieutenant who still believes in true love. Kent Smith plays the kind US born professor who desperately tries to extract Anna from the horrors of her re-education. Edward Dymtrk directs and delivers a searing A-list drama from a cast of B-movie royalty.
HITLER’S MADMAN (1943) Ripped straight from the horrifying headlines of the day, this drama depicts the complete destruction of the Bohemian village of Lidice by vengeful Nazis after the assassination of the area’s Reich Protector. John Carradine stars as the titular ‘Madman,’ the cold-blooded bureaucratic killer Reinhardt Heydrich, in one of his most chilling performances. Patricia Morison stars as local girl Jarmilla Hanka, eyewitness to the destruction of all she holds dear. This Douglas Sirk directed independently produced drama generated so much buzz MGM picked it up, something rarely done at the Tiffany studio.
THE DOUGHGIRLS (1944) This entry into the rarefied genre of World War II housing shortage comedy/romance showcases the distaff side thanks to some luminary leading ladies. Ann Sheridan, Alexis Smith and Jane Wyman star as a trio of ex-chorus girls who inadvertently co-habit a rare Washington D.C. hotel suite while in various states of matrimonial distress. Eve Arden plays a Russian guerrilla girl who may be able to save all their bacons. There’s plenty of star power on display, but this is Jane Wyman’s show with a soupçon of Arden delight. Jack Carson and Irene Manning co-star. James V. Kern directs.
PILLOW TO POST (1945) Noir queen Ida Lupino gets to show off her copious comedy chops as a traveling saleslady faking a military marriage thanks to the wartime housing shortage. Sydney Greenstreet co-stars as a colonel anxious about the care of the couples under his command as well as his combat service threatening waistline. Johnny Mitchell and William Prince are the boys looking to land the saleslady. Louis Armstrong and Dorothy Dandridge show up to give us a song, too! Vincent Sherman directs.