They Shouldn't Have Bothered
- They Saved Hitler's Brain review by Count Otto Black
classic (comparative more classic, superlative most classic)
1. Of or relating to the first class or rank, especially in literature or art.
2. Exemplary of a particular style.
3. Exhibiting timeless quality.
That's how Wiktionary defines a classic. This site categorises this movie as, amongst other things, "Classic Sci-Fi & Fantasy" and "Classics General", so I suppose it must be one of the greatest films ever made and I just don't get it.
But seriously folks, when I tell you that by far the most entertaining thing about this movie, and the only reason you've heard of it, is that outrageous title, and ironically even that one laugh is missing from this DVD because the print of the film they used bears its original title "The Madmen Of Mandoras", you'd do well to believe me, because by thinking about the words "They Saved Hitler's Brain" for a few seconds and giggling at the fact that a film of that name exists instead of watching it, you'll save yourself an hour and a quarter of tedium.
According to some sources, the movie was unreleased for almost a decade because the money ran out before filming was complete, until years later a producer looking for something to fill the bottom half of a double bill aimed at the teenage drive-in crowd, most of whom weren't paying much attention to what was happening on the screen, realised that if he didn't give a hoot about quality, buying two-thirds of a movie for peanuts and finishing it any old how meant he could make a feature film for practically nothing. This may explain the extremely muddled plot, in which, after the early scenes explain the vital importance of a certain military secret being well guarded, the US authorities vanish from the story the moment the secret is stolen, and everything has to be sorted out by a civilian, his wife, and some random foreigners they happen to get involved with. It may also explain why, especially in the very low-budget action scenes, two sets of characters appear strangely reluctant to get close enough to each other to be in the same shot.
Of course, the whole thing's a hopeless mess, and most of its running-time is devoted to the hero and his good lady hanging around in a fictional banana republic getting very confused (along with the audience) about which of the Latin Americans they meet, all of whom act very oddly, can be trusted. This dull padding between the tiny scraps of ineptly staged "action" isn't enlivened by the inclusion of an incredibly irritating comic relief girlie with the IQ of yeast, who talks in a bizarre hippie/beatnik dialect which I think is unique to this movie, and serves no purpose other than to make you wish she'd hurry up and die. Alas, she doesn't.
Oh, and that hilarious gimmick of Adolf Hitler's living head being preserved in a jar because it seemed like a good idea at the time? It's the only thing anybody remembers this movie for, but it's so underused that what's left of the ex-führer is simply a found object which is pointlessly shown to us once in a while for a few seconds, and the luckless actor (who doesn't resemble the extremely famous man he's portraying in the slightest), whose dialogue runs to a grand total of four words and whose body-language is drastically limited by his being somewhat lacking in the body department, is reduced to literally pulling funny faces in an attempt to convey that Hitler isn't very nice and is also a bit mental, which most of us probably knew already. Mind you, this is a movie in which a top secret US government chemical weapon test is represented by stock footage of an elephant having a snooze, so what can you expect? Don't waste your time like I did.
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