Saturday, July 21, 2012

Slappers Of Women And Torturers Of Old Men

The Internet Movie Database claims a 1968 release date for this Crown International film, but I’m not so sure. THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN is really the 1963 turkey MADMEN OF MANDORAS with almost a half-hour of newly shot footage tacked to the beginning, probably to stretch the picture to a two-hour television timeslot.

The protracted prologue could have been filmed in 1968, judging from the hair and fashions, but it seems more likely it happened in the early 1970s. Don Hulette (BREAKER! BREAKER!), the director of the new footage (but credited only with providing “additional music”), makes little attempt to match the MANDORAS film directed by David Bradley (TWELVE TO THE MOON), except for the laughable inclusion of an Eisenhower portrait in a government office.

The opening finds government agents Vic and Toni (after the requisite “I didn’t know you were a woman” kneeslapper common to ‘50s/’60s genre cinema) investigating the murder of Dr. Bernard, the developer of G-Gas, a super nerve gas that can fell an elephant in seconds. Hulette stages the killing by having Bernard leave a top-secret government lab and get into his car, which is hilariously parked at a nearby filling station (!), just so Hulette can cut in stock footage of a different exploding car from who knows what other movie.

The actors portraying these characters are either uncredited or buried in the titles, so I won’t even guess who plays them. Doesn’t matter much anyway, because Toni and Vic, who are terrible at their jobs, are knocked off quickly, and THE MADMEN OF MANDORAS gets underway. It’s easy to differentiate between the two directors’ work (a couple of Bradley’s scenes are cut into the prologue), because MANDORAS was shot by A-list cinematographer Stanley Cortez (THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS) and really looks nice.

Looks nice, but is still inept filmmaking, though the story is irresistible by fans of trashy pulp fiction. Another government agent, Phil Day (Walter Stocker), and his wife Kathy (Audrey Caire) travel to the South American country of Mandoras to find Kathy’s father, Professor Coleman (John Holland), who is the only man able to create a G-Gas antidote. They discover Nazis (“slappers of women and torturers of old men”) are planning to use the nerve gas to conquer the world and are still following the one and only Adolf Hitler (Bill Freed), whose head has been removed from his body and kept alive in a cake holder. Sometimes the Ratzis take him for a drive. He finally blows up in Bronson Canyon. This film would be amazing if it weren’t so dull.


Temple of Schlock said...

The IMDb is wrong -- again. MADMEN OF MANDORAS began its theatrical tour in the fall of 1963. Hulette shot the additional footage at least 10 years later (A 1973 Volkswagon appears in the movie), probably on 16mm since that was the popular format for movies on TV. THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN never received a real theatrical release prior to its 1976 television premiere.

Marty McKee said...

Thanks, Temp. I'm not much of a car guy and wouldn't have noticed the VW.