Review: They Saved Hitler’s Brain (1968)

They Saved Hitler’s Brain

Directed by David Bradley (Mostly.)
Starring Walter Stocker, Audrey Caire, Carlos Rivas (… and a few UCLA students.)

Plan B is always tricky. Usually it’s not well-planned and sometimes it’s not planned at all. One often resorts to Plan B after Plan A, the plan everyone knew and loved, fails spectacularly. So I can understand why Hitler’s Plan B had a few holes in it. After all, it’s hard to follow mass genocide, especially when you’re a head in a jar.

Under a giant Nazi swastika in a sort-of-maybe underground bunker in the South American country of Mandoras sits Hitler’s head. It turns out he survived World War II, and by the 1960s has amassed a dedicated following of about 20 overweight men, a few of whom have hatched a plan to NERVE GAS THE WORLD. In order to successfully wipe out civilization as we know it, they need to collect the nerve gas, put it in little bomb-cylinder-things, find out who has the antidote, force the information out of him, kidnap some American tourists, kill passersby, kill each other, drive around with Hitler’s head in the back seat, um… Well, their plan must be good, because it’s hard to figure out. Anyway, it’s up to OUR (mostly) AMERICAN FIGHTING HEROES (Phil and Kathy, a married couple, and a native named Camino) to stop the Nazis’ nefarious plan and save the world from impending doom!

They Saved Hitler’s Brain is actually a movie and a third: It’s the 1963 film The Madmen of Mondoras with twenty minutes added by UCLA students in order for the film to fit into a two-hour time slot for a 1968 broadcast. Let me say this right off the bat: The added footage is amazing. It’s filmed by amateurs on crappy film stock with crappy actors. But the facial hair. Oh, the facial hair. Mustaches that came hand-delivered by the gods, attached hair-by-hair over quivering manlips. Mustaches with power. Mustaches that turn women into submissive heaps of jelly. The “actors” run around making vague statements about “the formula!” and “the antidote!” and basically add nothing to a story that already has little to offer. Glorious. I would much rather watch anything these talentless students come up with than go back to the 1963 film, which is well-acted, polished and dull.

But alas, all good things must come to an end, and we’re left with snappy-looking film sets, deep focus, and well-orchestrated shots. These things will kill a bad movie. And sure enough, by the time we actually see Hitler’s head in a jar, we’re tired of watching Phil and Kathy run around and do nothing for 40 minutes. I miss the UCLA students. I miss the mustaches. I miss the out-of-focus wonder.

There are moments of greatness, sure. Phil looks over at a table surrounded by high-spirited men, squints his eyes, and hisses “Germans …” to his wife. Camino tells the couple how Hitler survived the war and Kathy replies, “Hitler alive … it’s … it’s incredible!” Hitler’s head rides around in the back seat of a car, scowling at everything. Good moments. Fleeting moments. Lost in a haze of excruciating boredom.

A movie titled They Saved Hitler’s Brain has an obligation to be silly and fun. Those UCLA students managed to be silly, but nowhere in the movie does anyone have much fun.

Time for Plan C, Adolf. Make this one count.

Links:

Amazon – They Saved Hitler’s Brain DVD
Amazon – They Saved Hitler’s Brain VHS
YouTube – The Madmen of Mondoras Original Theatrical Trailer
YouTube – Complete Movie

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