Saturday, October 8, 2016

None Shall Escape

None Shall Escape
None Shall Escape 1944 US poster.jpg
Original US 1944 poster
Directed byAndré de Toth

Partial filmography[edit]

Produced bySamuel Bischoff
Screenplay byLester Cole
Story byAlfred Neumann
Joseph Than
StarringMarsha Hunt
Alexander Knox
Henry Travers
Music byErnst Toch
CinematographyLee Garmes
Edited byCharles Nelson
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • February 3, 1944
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film centres on the trial of Wilhelm Grimm as a war criminal. Each character witness provides a flashback scene to a previous part of Grimm's life.
In the trial, it is revealed that Grimm (Alexander Knox), who fought for Germany in the First World War and lost a leg in battle, returns after the war to the small German village of Litzbark (now in newly independent Poland) where he had been a teacher. Despite the recent hostilities, he is welcomed back into the community and resumes his teaching. He also resumes his relationship with Marja Pacierkowski, a local Polish girl to whom he had become engaged before the war.
He is bitter about Germany losing the war and it is obvious he has been changed by the experience. He treats the villagers with disdain, and his upcoming marriage is cancelled. He calls his fiancée a "peasant" only interested in her wedding dowry.
Taunted by the school's pupils, who say he is not fit to marry any Polish woman, he molests one of them, Anna, a young girl. The rape is blamed on her young male friend, Jan Stys, but Wilhelm's fiancée accidentally stumbles on the truth from Anna. The girl subsequently drowns herself in the lake. A mob gathers seeking vengeance, but a trial is required. Nevertheless, Jan throws a stone, putting out Wilhelm's left eye. After the trial fails to convict him, he returns to Germany, after borrowing money from the priest and the rabbi.
In Germany he goes to Munich to the house of his brother Karl, who is married with a young family. Karl clearly despises the Nazis, referring scornfully to "that Hitler creature". Karl cannot dissuade Wilhelm, though, and Wilhelm joins the Nazi Partyand rises through its ranks. In 1929 he is sought by the police after the Nazi Party is made illegal. His nephew keeps the police at bay and Wilhelm rewards him with a swastika badge. As the Nazis grow in strength Karl decides he has no option but to leave Germany and go to Vienna. He threatens to reveal Wilhelm's part in the Reichstag fire unless he joins them, but instead of doing so, Wilhelm turns them over to the authorities, sending his own brother to a concentration camp. He then arranges that Karl's son enters the Hitler Youth.
When the Second World War starts, Grimm becomes the commander of the occupying force of the same village where he had previously lived. He treats the villagers brutally. He forces Marja, now a schoolteacher, to burn the children's books, saying they will be replaced by German books. He cruelly says that time has not treated her well and taunts her for rejecting him due to his leg injury. His nephew Willi, whom Wilhelm asserts that he treats as his own son, is now serving under him and pursuing Marja's daughter, Janina.
Grimm, who is now a Reichs Commissioner, next becomes involved in the large-scale deportation of the Jews and other minority groups. He commands the rabbi to quell dissent among the crowd as they are placed on the trains. The rabbi, knowing that they are going to die, instructs the crowd to rebel instead, upon which the Nazis turn machine guns onto the crowd. Wilhelm kills the rabbi with his pistol. Father Warecki exchanges final words with him as he dies.
Willi finds Marja and Janina hiding Jan Stys, who is injured, but he leaves without Jan when Marja rebukes him, and seems to soften in his attitude. Wilhelm sends Janina to work at the "officers' club", the Nazi name for enforced prostitution. Willi begs that she be released, to no avail. When Janina also dies, Grimm's nephew renounces his Nazi allegiance, having realised what an evil path Wilhelm has led him on. While Willi is praying by the side of Janina's body in the church, Wilhelm shoots him in the back.
We return to the courtroom. Wilhelm refuses to accept the authority of the court and continues to spout  Nazi Propaganda.. The judge leaves it to the people to decide Grimm's fate.

Main cast[edit]

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