by Shane “The Resistance” Hnetka
Blu-ray 4K is on its way. What’s Blu-ray 4K? Why, only the next generation of Blu-ray players! The 4K machines have a higher screen resolution than previous machines — almost 4,000 pixels wide. See? 4K!
(They’ll also supposedly be capable of playing 60 frames-per-second movies. Sixty-four K? Nah.)
Anyway, these new players will apparently be in stores for Christmas 2015. What does this mean for the average consumer? Probably nothing. There’s a ton of folks out there who haven’t upgraded to the current generation of high-definition players and everything seems to be going towards streaming content anyway. Streaming: the studios like it. Viewers like it. Me, I’m one the few crazies who still wants to physically own movies.
I mean, I still doubt I’ll upgrade. My current player is good enough. But we’ll see.
Hangmen Also Die!
Cohen Media has just released Fritz Lang’s excellent and underrated 1943 film, Hangmen Also Die! on Blu-ray. Hangmen, a fictionalized account of the real-life assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Hitler’s number two in the SS, was one of several anti-Nazi propaganda films Lang made in the United States.
In reality, Heydrich — the so-called “Hangman Of Prague” — was a monster. Heydrich was largely responsible for rounding up Jews early in the war and later, as the top Nazi in occupied Czechoslovakia, fought the resistance cruelly and ruthlessly. Hitler called him “the man with the iron heart”.
Hangmen Also Die! starts off with Hydrich already dead and his killer, played by Brian Donlevy, on the run from the secret police. When the Nazis can’t find Heydrich’s assassin, they arrest 400 innocent people hoping the killer will come forward (or someone will rat him out). Then things get nasty: the Nazis start killing prisoners and the resistance must hatch a plan to save them and convince the Germans they’ve actually caught the assassin (which they haven’t).
While the movie wraps up nicely as Hollywood films tend to do, in real life the consequences of the only successful assassination of a top-level Nazi officer were dire. While searching for Heydrich’s assassins, the Nazis annihilated two towns, killing all the residents.
Still, Hangmen Also Die! is thrilling and fantastic. It’s nice to see this forgotten Lang classic arrive on Blu-ray.
Attack Of The Killer Bs
Don’t forget: my annual blog column 31 Days Of Horror will appear on Dog Blog (at prairiedogmag.com) every day in October. This year’s theme: B-movies! See you on the Interwebs.
Shane Hnetka is a Regina film and comic book nerd who has decided to use his great knowledge and power for evil instead of good.