They Saved Hitler’s Brain (1963)

They Saved Hitlers Brain Title

Directed by Dave Bradley

Written by Steve Bennett, Peter Miles

Run Time: 91 minutes

Tagline: The most incredible plot to conquer the world!

Disembodied handRe-animated body parts have been standard B-movie fare since the day somebody figured out how easy it would be to create a monster by cutting a hole in a blanket, sticking somebody’s hand through it, and have it ‘crawl’ across the bed towards an unwitting babe. Oh, and it makes for a cheap special effect as well, which has always been a prime motivation for movie makers since time immemorial. (Well, at least it’s been a motivation for the folks that have made the films on this web site.)

The most common evil appendage is, naturally, the hand. This highly versatile"monster" has several advantages:

It is readily available so no extra actors need to be hired. (read: money.) Hands can also grasp items, choke people, open doors, and pretty much do anything that a "normal" hand can do. (Keep it clean, people, keep it clean! This is a family web site.) Such hand-centric films range from the 1946 classic horror film The Beast with Five Fingers (which scared the hell out of me as a kid!) all the way to the terribly dull The Crawling Hand (1963). (And yes, we can never forget about "Thing" from the Addams Family.) Regardless of the quality of the film itself, there is something inherently creepy about a disembodied hand lurking about in the darkness waiting to strangle unsuspecting snoozers. (I remember as a kid I always tucked in my blankets at the end of the bed to prevent any five-fingered beasts from crawling up and grabbing my foot…a horror too great to contemplate at the time!)

In addition to hands there’s not really any other body part that could be a film villain in its own right because, well, besides hands, what other body parts do we have that could possibly pose any sort of threat? Oh, and yes, before you say it, there are rare instances of a self-aware genitalia: namely a talking vagina in Chatterbox (1977) (gotta love that title!), and even a dormant extraterrestrial penis in 3001: A Penis Odyssey (2007), but since I have not seen these movies, nor really want to, let’s just drop the whole subject. (OK. I lied. I really want to see them both!) Actually, Peter Jackson’s 1992 über-gore fest Brain Dead, features a "living" large intestine that slithers about and even admires itself while preening in a mirror! But Mr. Jackson, God bless him, is in a class of his own, so we’ll exclude him from the rest of the discussion.

Madmen of Madoras posterHyper-intelligent disembodied space-brains have been known to cause problems, namely Gor and Vol in John Agar’s delightful The Brain From Planet Arous (1953). Otherwise, brains are just, well, more gross than scary. (I have to admit, one of my guilty pleasures is Steve Martin’s The Man With Two Brains (1983)…I laugh out loud every time I see that movie. Sorry.)

The only other potential body part that could pose any kind of threat is the head, which is basically a brain-carrier anyway. Such nefarious noggins include the infamous severed head (‘Jan in the Pan’) from the sleazy 1962 sci-fi flick The Brain That Wouldn’t Die , and the bizarre 1972 "buddy film" The Thing With Two Heads featuring football star ‘Rosey’ Grier as a black guy forced to have a racist white head surgically attached to his body! Let the wackiness begin!

Unfortunately for sci-fi filmmakers, there’s nothing really inherently scary about a living head. I mean, sure, it’s gross…but what could it ever do? It has no means of locomotion, it can’t maneuver objects, it has no body to attack with (nor lungs or vocal chords, so how these heads talk is a mystery.) But…what if…what if the head came from a really eeeeeeeeeeevil person? Maybe it would pose more of a threat then just any old disembodied talking topknot. Right?

Enter They Saved Hitler’s Brain.

Before we begin, it’s interesting to point out that our current film is actually a re-release of a different film that was made nearly a decade earlier: Madmen of Mandoras. The story in a nutshell: in the late 1960’s a group of film students bought ‘Madmen’, slapped 30 minutes of new footage at the beginning (with an absolute minimum of story continuity), and re-released it as a made for TV feature called They Saved Hitler’s Brain. (Despite TSHB’s official release date of 1963, it was in fact released much later, possibly even as late as the early 70’s.) The new footage is easy to identify as the hair styles, clothes fashions, and even car models change literally from scene to scene where the new material is grafted into the original movie. Since none of the new characters are actually in the older part of the movie (obviously), the ‘writers’ were required to kill them off or simply have them disappear at about the 30 minute mark as we plunge into the original film.

Oh, and here’s the trailer for you:

As much as I love horrible plots and awkward transitions, this is ridiculous.

We open with an establishing shot of the "El Camino Technological Institue…Chemical Division"…as indicated by a hand-painted cardboard sign affixed to a chain-link fence outside of an apartment building. Inside the <cough>, Institute, <cough>, one of the researchers, Dr. Bernard, removes some files from a safe and calls somebody named Mr. Van Pelt to inform him that he has "the formula." (Mwu-ha-ha!) Donning his hat over his all-to-obvious 1970’s haircut (remember that the first 30 minutes of the movie was filmed nearly a decade after the original release), Bernard makes his exit.

Cut to see a guy taking a call at a pay phone…and this guy is a dead ringer for Jake Blues. It’s creepy. So, let’s keep things simple and call the guy Agent Jake.

Jake Jake Blues Brothers

Separated at birth?

Anyhoo, Agent Jake accepts the call and thanks to some clunky exposition, we discover that it’s none other than Mr. Van Pelt calling to see if Dr. Bernard has made his left the Institute yet. (Uh oh! I smell a double cross!) Before the tension overwhelms you, I’ll go ahead and tell you that Bernard gets in his car and is promptly blown to smithereens by a car bomb when he turns over the ignition. Agent Jake and his partner, let’s call him Agent Elwood for simplicity’s sake, speed off in their black spOOk-mobile as we sit to ponder just what in the hell is going on here.

Meanwhile, at Criminal Investigation Division (CID) headquarters, we see somebody reading the latest edition of the L.A. Times whose headline boldly exclaims:


("gov’t." ?!)

In strolls Agent Vic, who’s been summoned to meet with his hitherto unnamed boss. (Oh, let me give you a hint, his bosses initials are Mr. V.P. Wow! Ian Fleming, eat your heart out!) The two investigators begin discussing Dr. Bernard’s recent fiery demise. Without further ado, the conversation turns to Dr. Bernard’s work on the formula for the antidote to "G-gas". Sure, Vic had done a little work on it in the "L7 Project", but sadly, the only known formula has now been destroyed along with Dr. Bernard.

But wait. Vic explains that Dr. Bernard wasn’t the only one with the antidote’s formula. No, somebody named Dr. Coleman also has a copy of it in his possession. (Does your head hurt yet? Why do movies with such inane plots seem to always have such convoluted back stories? Ack!) As we continue to scratch our heads, Mr. V.P. gives Vic a dossier of Dr. Bernard’s work and is sent home to read through it for clues. As Vic walks through the door, his boss informs him that another agent, Toni, will be working on the case with him. Hmmm…’Toni’ with an ‘i’. I wonder where this is headed.

After Vic leaves the office, a secretary announces over the intercom that "A man from Mandoras is calling for you, Mr. Van Pelt."

Wait a minute! Could he be the same Mr. Van Pelt that killed Dr. Bernard?! Dear Lord! What a twist!

Van Pelt eagerly grabs the prop phone from his desk and explains to the party on the other end that there is another person who has the formula for the G-gas antidote: Dr. Coleman. (Just go with it. It works for me.)

The next day we see Vic sitting on his porch at home in a surprisingly run down apartment complex. I mean, James Bond wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like this. Anyway, I’m not saying that this was filmed at the actor’s apartment. But still, you gotta wonder…

Vics apartment

Living large as a Secret Agent

As Vic sips his coffee, up drives Agent Toni in a beat up VW Bug. ( I’m not saying that’s the actress’ real car. Nope. But still…you gotta wonder…)

The mirth begins for real when Vic is shocked to see that his new partner is, wait for it…a woman! Get it? Her name is Toni! With an "i"! Ah, God, I love rich wordplay like this.

Toni explains why she was late: "None of the streets have signs and none of the houses have numbers on them!" To me, this sort of obstacle should be something that an Agent should be able to overcome without too much trouble, but there you go. After all, she is a girl, so that explains it.

Tonis Bug

Secret Agent Toni trying to find Vic’s address

After inviting Toni inside his apartment for a cup of coffee (the interior shots of Vic’s ‘apartment’ are now obviously being filmed inside somebody’s house), Vic gets into an argument with her because she’s just a Girl and the mission might be too dangerous, but she can take of herself and she worked hard to get this job, and boy, this is a really thought provoking scene. It really makes you wonder about the crap that female Agents must have to put up with from their male counterparts. The ‘Glass Ceiling’. Toni’s frustrated professional ambitions. (Well, actually, I’m not thinking about that, but maybe I’m supposed to.)

Anyway, Vic and Toni make amends and settle down on porch to discuss Dr. Bernard. (The porch is now in somebody’s back yard instead of an apartment building. Strange.) It turns out that Dr. Bernhard spent a lot of time in…bum! bum! bum! a place called Mandoras where it’s rumored that lots of…wait for it…Nazis have fled after the war. Toni suggests interviewing Dr. Coleman about his connections with Bernhard, but Vic says it’s not necessary because Van Pelt is handling that part of the case. (Vic is also unable to interview Dr. Coleman because he’s in a different movie!)

Now we catch our first glimpse of the original footage from the older movie. A group of scientists sitting in a darkened room are watching a film demonstrating the effects of G-gas on an elephant. (!) (This horrible display of the lethal power of G-gas is simply a bit of stock footage showing an elephant walking around and then laying down to take a nap.) After watching the elephant doze off, er, I mean die from the G-gas, Professor Coleman explains that G-gas is so powerful that a hair-spray sized canister is potent enough to kill everybody within 800 square miles. (!) But don’t worry, Coleman reassures the others that the formula for the only known antidote rests safe with him. (Oh. Gee. I wonder what’s going to happen to him?)

Meanwhile, in the hallway outside the conference room, a Hispanic Guy tries to talk his way past a solitary MP so he can tell Coleman something of utmost importance. Alas, before he gets a chance to explain, an unseen man moves out of the shadows and Hispanic Guy scurries off. (The MP stands and watches with bored curiosity as HG runs away…great security.)

Hispanic Guy

Moving right along…

Guy From the Shadows walks past the MP with a nod of the head and into the conference room, so I guess he’s some sort of big shot. Once inside, we see Coleman making small talk with his son-in-law, Phil Day, whose married to his daughter, Kathy. Through some awkward dialog, we learn that Phil is a newly promoted CID Field Agent, so I expect he’ll be sent to Mandoras to investigate before too long. Coleman quickly introduces Guy From the Shadows as his assistant, Frank Dvorak. (Having fun with all these names yet? Me too.) As Phil takes his leave and goes home for dinner, Coleman gets a phone call and is informed that his other daughter, Suzanne, has been kidnapped and he better get his butt over to her apartment…or else! When Coleman gets there, he discovers Suzanne’s boyfriend, David, laying on the floor unconscious.

OK, let’s take a pause and have a quick character wrap up after 15 minutes of run time:

Dr. Bernard, Agent Vic, Agent Toni, Agent Van Pelt, Prof. Coleman, Agent Phil, Kathy, Suzanne, David, Dr. Frank, Hispanic Guy, Agent Jake, and Agent Elwood.

Yeah, pretty damned tiring, isn’t it? (And you’re telling me?!) Well, don’t despair: Bernard’s already dead and almost everybody else abruptly disappears for good in about 10 minutes as the new footage ends and we plunge into the older film for the duration.

Anyway, David comes to his senses and tells Coleman that a couple of men kicked his ass and then abducted Suzanne. Coleman, understandably upset, rushes out to find a phone to call the cops with David tagging along behind him. No sooner does Coleman step outside then 2 men force him and David at gunpoint into a waiting car. (A couple of jarring cut scenes show Agent Toni, in the new footage, watching all this from her VW Bug and following as they drive off.) I’m really hoping that the 2 guys who just abducted Coleman and David are not supposed to be the Blues Brothers Bad Guys because they don’t look anything like them. Sadly, I think they are supposed to be one and the same. To further confuse the hapless viewer, i.e., me, Hispanic Guy jumps out from some bushes where he also saw everything, and gives chase as well. Yippee!

On a side note, one of the oldest "tricks" in the book for making a shot appear to be taken at night (besides blue-filtering it) is to foley chirping crickets onto the soundtrack. Sure it works, and can be convincing to some extent…but not when it’s broad daylight out! Yes, the exciting scenes of Toni following the bad guys is filmed in broad daylight with crickets chirping because it’s nighttime in the original movie and their trying to "blend" in the new footage (filmed in daylight) with the old. It’s amazing!

Sunny night Sunny night

Must be a really bright full moon…

Anyway, after reaching the hideout, the bad guys hustle Coleman out of the car and inside the house. (David, who was also kidnapped in the previous scene, has literally disappeared from the scene. Nice continuity.)

Meanwhile, Toni manages to sneak up to the house and stand outside a window in order to hear the bad guys talking. One of the kidnappers calls Van Pelt and informs him that they’ve accidentally overdosed Coleman with truth-drugs while interrogating him. (Doh!) At the same time, one of the spies opens the shades to get some fresh air (!) and spots Toni standing directly outside the window. (Way to go, Agent Toni.) Caught like a deer in headlights, Toni runs to her car and the bad guys give chase.

Due to some hitherto unknown time dilation effect, even though the bad guys were only 10 seconds behind Toni, she manages drive to a pay phone, park the car, and call Vic to tell him where Coleman is being held. (Amazingly, this scene is actually filmed at night, but now the crickets have stopped chirping. Go figure.) As Toni hangs up the phone, the bad guys drive up (now daytime) and fire a few bullets into Toni (now nighttime) before burning rubber and driving away.

Shootout Shootout

After Toni’s call, Vic drives over to the address that was given to him. Once inside, after some perfunctory peeking about, Vic is stunned when Van Pelt jumps out and holds him at gunpoint. Just as Van Pelt is about to shoot Vic, Toni, gravely wounded, stumbles out of nowhere and kills Van Pelt before collapsing on the floor and dying. (And yes, I’m also trying to figure out just how a mortally wounded Toni crawled all the way back to the house before both Vic could drive there and before the bad guys who actually shot her could return as well.)

Whatever. At this point, the bad guys arrive, see Vic, and start chasing him, but not before shooting him in the shoulder. After a really, really lame car chase scene, Vic passes out from blood loss (from a shoulder wound?!), and crashes his car into a pole where it explodes and he dies as well. Note however, before hitting the pole, day turns into night, and Vic’s car changes both make and color. Strange. Oh, I guess this can be explained by the fact that the crash scene is lifted from yet a 3rd film, the 1958 Robert Michum flick, Thunder Road. Nice work, peeps.

Transforming car Transforming car

The Amazing Transforming Car

Now, with all the characters from the new footage now killed off, we can now safely cut to the original film made over a decade before this new crappy stuff. And if you think the transition between the 2 parts is a smooth one, then you better think again.

Cut to Phil’s house where our hero is returning after a hard day’s CID work to pick up his wife, Kathy (aka "KC"), for an evening out on town. As they leave home, Hispanic Guy jumps out of the shadows and and insists on speaking to him about a most urgent matter. When Phil refuses, HG pulls a gun and forces the couple into their car. As they drive off, a second, black car (black, since they’re eeeevil) follows close behind.

Phils house Secret sign

As they drive around, HG tells Phil that Professor Coleman has been kidnapped and taken to Mandoras. Before he can reveal any more information, the dark car that’s been tailing them pulls up along side and fires a bullet into HG’s neck.

"Something’s wrong!" KC shouts as the bad guys peel off.

"What is it?" asks Agent Phil.

Gee, maybe it has something to do with the gunshot fired 2 feet from your window, you moron!

Instead of immediately pulling over and summoning help, Phil drives around for a while, a long, long while I guess, since it’s now daytime again (man, I’m getting sick of this), and finally stops the car.

"He’s been shot!" Phil the Super Sleuth deduces after seeing the bullet hole in the guy’s neck.

Despite being shot in the side of the neck from close range, HG manages to hang on long enough to reveal that his name is Teo. He also has the strength to pull out a book of matches and shows Phil how to hold them as a secret signal. Apparently, in Mandoras, holding a book of matches upside-down means that you are a "friend", but honestly, I have no idea what in the hell he’s talking about. Anyway, after showing Phil the Mandoras Match Trick, Teo expires.

Being a government agent and officer of the law, Phil does the responsible thing and immediately reports Teo’s death to the authorities. No, just kidding. Since this is a stupid movie, Phil simply stuffs Teo’s body into a nearby phone booth. (Paying no attention to a couple of people who stroll by and see the whole thing!) While KC rifles through Teo’s wallet for clues, Phil shoves himself alongside Teo’s body in the booth and calls Coleman’s office. (Again, all this takes place in broad daylight on a busy street without any bystanders batting an eye? Man, this must be a rough part of town!) We cut to see the phone ringing in Coleman’s office, while Coleman’s assistant, Frank, simply gives a sinister stare and leaves the room without taking the call. So, yes, Frank must be in cahoots with the Nazis or something. Why else wouldn’t he answer his boss’s personal phone in the middle of the night?

After letting the phone ring, oh, 3 or 4 times, Phil declares, "[Teo] must have been telling the truth!"

Yes, Phil, I’m sure that’s the only explanation for Coleman not being at his office in the middle of the night to take a random phone call.

Convinced of the veracity of Teo’s warning, Phil and KC drop everything and fly off to the remote island of Mandoras.

"Are you sure we’re doing the right thing?" KC asks as they leave the airport upon arrival. (Now you ask?)

To my great chagrin, one of the other passengers is an obnoxious Texan (complete with 10-gallon hat and crappy accent) named Tom Sharon. He says he’s in Mandoras to …mwu-ha-ha!!!…take care of some "business", so I bet this isn’t the last we see of him. (Although I hope this is the last we hear of his ridiculous accent.)

Madoras cop Waiting in Madoras Waiting in Madoras

Much to Phil’s surprise, the local police chief, Police Chief Alaniz (played by über-ubiquitous character actor Nestor Paiva), and his sleepy deputy, Julio, greet them at the customs office and shoosh them into a waiting car. Despite Phil’s queries as to the reason behind this special reception, Alaniz insists that he’s just "following orders" and whisks them off to the hotel. Watching the whole episode is yet another suspicious character standing off to the side, Sunglass Guy. Boy, my spidey-sense is all a-tingle now. Oh, wait, 2 more suspicious guys are also observing the action, and quickly jump into a car and follow Alaniz as soon as he takes off. (Good grief. Enough espionage, already!)

Later that night, Alaniz and the others arrive at the economically named "Hotel Mandoras". (Sheesh, it was broad daylight when they left the airport; just how for away is it hotel anyway!?) The black sedan driven by the 2 sleazy guys also arrives about 10 seconds after Alaniz. So I guess they’ve tailed them through an entire day’s drive without Phil even noticing. (Nice one, Sherlock.) To add to the, er, intrigue, the other guy from the airport, Sunglass Guy, slinks in, and finds out what room Phil is staying in. (Again, Phil has no clue that he’s being tailed by 2 separate groups of people.)

Once inside their hotel room, Phil and KC exchange some pointless dialog. "[Alaniz] must be getting orders from somewhere," Phil tells KC. Uh, yeah Phil, since Alaniz himself told you that he was "just following orders" I see how you would come to that conclusion. Boy, there’s no sneaking one past you.

Anyway, after hearing a suspicious thud in the hallway, Phil yanks KC into a corner and shuts off the light. To everybody’s non-surprise, in sneaks Sunglass Guy, but before he can identify himself Phil takes a wild swing which SGG easily blocks before walloping him with a punch of his own. As the 2 men struggle, KC grabs a vase and accidentally smashes it on Phil’s head. With the fight effectively finished, SGG carries Phil over to the sofa and revives him. "With a wife like this, who needs a girlfriend," Phil grumbles after realizing it was KC that did him in. (Ho! Ho! Women!, eh Phil?) After everybody calms down, SGG shows Phil the secret matchbook signal and identifies himself as Camino.

Remembering back

With his face firmly superimposed over copious amounts of WW2 stock footage, Camino reveals that Hitler did not commit suicide after all. In fact, "Mr. H", as Camino now refers to Hitler (…Mr. H??!! Uh, yeah. I’m sure Hitler didn’t mind that.) had a crack team of doctors, one of whom was Camino’s brother Teo (The guy who was shot in the car…remember?). Said doctors removed Hitler’s head, placed it in some sort of life support machine (that looks like a big fish bowl), and flew him off to Mandoras where he is now gathering his forces, and through the use of the ultra-lethal G-gas, plans on taking over the world.

(Just why they had to remove Hitler’s head before flying to Mandoras is not explained. Couldn’t somebody just have given up their seat for him? Was the plane so crowded that the only available space was in the…"overhead"? ha. ha. I love me.)

After Camino finishes his astonishing tale, KC is stunned by the news:

"Hitler alive…that’s incredible!"

"I did not say ‘alive’, Señora…just not dead." (I guess Camino knows of a definition of the word "dead" that I wasn’t aware of.)

The excitement continues as Camino explains just why Phil and KC have been lured to Mandoras in the first place: The Mandoran Nazis have Hitler’s head and the G-gas. They just need to force Professor Coleman to give the formula for the antidote so they can initiate the takeover of the world.

OK. I know. That still doesn’t explain why Phil was picked. Oh, I guess it’s because Coleman is his father-in-law, which makes about as much sense as anything else in this movie.

But let me get this straight:

The only countermeasure to the Nazi’s super-weapon, i.e., G-gas, is known by Professor Coleman. The Nazis have kidnapped Coleman so they can get the antidote from him so they can unleash their gas? This sort of makes sense since the Nazis may want the antidote in case one of them because infected by accident…but then why did they blow up Dr. Bernard when he had the freakin’ formula in his very lap?! I can only assume that the movie’s plot was not intended to be overly analyzed, and at this point, that seems like sound advice.

All that aside…the phone rings and Camino learns that a hired killer who looks like a mix between Fu Manchu and Peter Sellers is standing in the street snooping around.

"His name is Vasquez…at times he’s called…the Assassin!"

Having filled in the back story for the rest of the movie, Camino promises to be nearby if they need help and leaves the hotel.


Watch out for…zeeeee Assassin!

Later that evening, Phil and KC wind up a little shopping by heading over to the local bar. (I guess finding Professor Coleman and the antidote that will save the human race took back seat to a little souvenir shopping.) Inside the bar (which seems oddly packed with Americans for being such a remote island), KC is immediately spotted by her sister Suzanne (what?!) who was busy cutting a rug on the dance floor.

After an initial round of shocked greetings, Suzanne explains that after being kidnapped and flown to Mandoras, the Germans who abducted her put her up in an a hotel and left her alone as long as she promised not to call anybody back in the States. (Yeah, that sounds like something a bunch of Hitler henchmen would do.) Ever since then, Suzanne’s been dancing away the evenings at the local jazz club and having a grand old time.

Speaking of grand old times, for no particular reason a Carmen Miranda-ish dancer takes the stage and starts performing a cha-cha-cha number. The Assassin finds this the opportune moment to sneak in the back door and strike a pose by the bar proving that subtlety is certainly not one of his strong points.

Dancing Strike a pose

I’m sensing that this is going to wind up being a big action sequence as the camera jumps from character after character after character. Assassin, some German guy, Camino, and so on. To make the scene even more cluttered, in walks Chief Alaniz and Deputy Julio. (Oh boy, this oughtta be a fun scene…) Just as the tension builds to the breaking point (not really), the German guy fires at Phil who is saved by the dancer diving in front of him and taking the bullet. (This guy is the most sorry-assed Agent I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously. A cha-cha dancer has to save his life for Pete’s sake.)

For some reason, the lights go out and in the resulting confusion the Assassin is shot by…somebody…and mortally wounded. When the lights return, Agent Phil lays on the floor with the wounded dancer laying beside him. Sadly, both KC and Suzanne are gone. (Once again, Phil, maybe you should consider another line of work.) Anyway, Alaniz arrests Phil for Vasquez’s murder even though Phil has no gun, nor could he have hit him from the angle he was sitting at with regards to the Assassin.

After a brief ride through the night (Hey! Continuity!), Alaniz and Phil arrive at the sound stage, er ‘palace’, of Mandoran Presidente Juan Padua where he is reunited with KC and Suzanne.

El Presidente Padua explains that in a matter of hours the takeover of the world is to begin via sleeper cells of operatives awaiting orders to release clouds of G-gas throughout the country. Yep. That sounds pretty well thought out to me. Anyway, in walks the ersatz Texan, Tom Sharon (from the airport..remember?…remember?). Yeah, he’s part of the evil plan and yadda yadda yadda. After telling his prisoners exactly how the bad guys are going to execute their plan (so they can foil them later, of course), Presidente Padua has some guards whisk Phil and the girls down into a holding cell.

Ruling the world

Vee vil rool zeee vorld!

Immediately inside the cell sits none other then long lost Professor Coleman. The Nazis are apparently compelled to torture Coleman by blaring loud noises over a gigantic speaker. (Coleman seems unaware that he really doesn’t have to sit directly under the speaker, but whatever.)

Professor Coleman torture

Try scootching to the right, it might help…

After tossing Phil and the girls in the cell, the Nazis turn off the wailing speakers and everybody rushes over to make sure Coleman is OK.

"I’m worth more to them alive than dead," says Coleman. (Again, if he has the only antidote, then why not kill him?)

Magic stairs Magic stairs

When Coleman once again refuses to reveal the formula for the antidote, the Nazis decide enough is enough, and come into the cell to rough him up a bit. In trying to make this scene into a "tense" moment, the filmmakers inadvertently introduce an amusing continuity error: When the Nazis enter the cell they’re standing at the top of some stairs with obscured faces so their identities can be revealed in an "Oh My God" moment. However when Phil was led into the cell just a moment before, there is nothing outside the door except an empty hallway! Ahh..I live for these sorts of things. (Sad, I know.)

Anyhoo, the whole point to putting the stairs there in the first place was to hide the Nazis’ indentities until the last moment so as to shock us…and…surprise, surprise, the trailing Nazi is none other than Suzanne’s boyfriend, David. (Remember him from about 40 minutes ago?)

"Our plans will go forward with or without your willing cooperation!" Nazi #1 warns them. (And I think that’s supposed to be Coleman’s assistant, Frank, but I’m not sure. [Note from Future: It is.]

Suzanne is naturally upset when she finds out her boyfriend is a Nazi and starts chewing him out. David gets quickly fed up and smacks her across the face.

"So you’re the superior ones?" Phil sneers in disgust , "The slappers of women, the torturers of old men!"

(The "slappers of women"…that line really gave me a much needed chuckle right now.)

For some reason, the Nazis decide to take everybody out of the cell and show them "the ruler of the world". Why this is at all necessary instead of, oh, killing them!!! is beyond me. After being led to a huge empty room adorned with a gigantic swastika, they finally come face to face with the <cough> Leader of the World:

Adolf Hitler head Adolf Hitler head

Yep. This is the scene you’ve been waiting for. Pretty awesome isn’t it?

After gazing upon Hitler’s confused visage, Coleman and the others are returned to their cell to mull things over. When Coleman lights up a smoke using a book of matches from the local bar ("A guard gave them to me…"), Phil realizes that they must have a friend hiding amongst the Nazi garrison. Deciding that it’s now or never, Phil and Professor Coleman (!) overpower a pair of guards using they always potent Karate Chop to the Back of the Neck move.

Alas, their thoughts of escape are dashed when Alaniz walks in with his pistol drawn. But oh no, the writers have yet another "unexpected" plot twist for us: Alaniz and President Padua are actually working against the Nazis and offer to help them escape from the presidential palace. Furthermore, and please sit down before you read this: Camino and Teo are President Padua’s sons!

Dear Lord! Please, gentlemen! I implore you, let me catch my breathe and try to take this all in!

OK. Now I think I’ve gotten my mind wrapped around these latest developments. Let’s move on.

After a brief discussion, the band of rebels decide to split up and take 2 cars back to town in order to gather up some locals and try to intercept the Nazis before they can load the G-gas onto airplanes and deliver it to their agents around the world. When Phil’s escape is discovered, the alarm is sounded and another chase is underway.

Meanwhile, the bad guys decide to proceed with "Operation G". (As in…’G-gas’. Get it? I hope that wasn’t too cryptic of a reference for you.) With things set in motion, Adolf’s noggin is transferred to a waiting car (all the while yelling "Mach Schnell! Mach Schnell!") so he can be driven to a secret airstrip (Why? Why?!)

Back to Phil and KC who are driving to town when, once again, Phil proves he’s totally incompetent as he doesn’t notice the headlights of the car following immediately behind them until KC (!) points it out to him!

Being trailed

We’re being trailed? Huh?

Anyway, after an unknown amount of time, Phil and KC make it into town, park the car, get out, and run into an alley…all before the following car arrives, which is completely impossible since it was following about 20 feet behind them the entire way. (Not like this is the biggest plot hole in the movie or anything.) Out of the car jumps David. (You remember him, right?: Phil’s wife’s sister’s ex-boyfriend turned Nazi thug? The "Slapper of Women"? )

After some "excitement" as Phil and KC hide in an alley, David eventually corners them behind some boxes.

"What’s the use, Phil? In 15 minutes everybody in this town will be dead!" David shouts.

(Well, Dave, if everybody is going to be dead from poison gas, why bother trying to shoot them? Oh, never mind…)

Agent Phil, having cleverly counted the bullets that David fired during the pursuit in the alley, tricks him into firing his last round.

"I guess you’re out of bullets now, David," Phil gloats as he steps out of the shadows.

Boy, Phil, that would really suck if David had another pistol, wouldn’t it?

"Not exactly, Phil!" says David as he pulls out another pistol.

I just have to get this off my chest: Phil, you are a complete, freakin’ moron!

There. I feel better.

Phil realizes what an idiot he is and takes a shot at David with the gun that Alaniz gave him back at the palace. Ah, but the pistol is empty, which means that Alaniz gave Phil an unloaded gun. My head, really, really hurts right about now. But it really doesn’t matter. Alaniz shows up Just In Time and kills David himself. God, that was…Too Close!

Fortunately for the Good Guys, David had revealed during his mandatory Antagonist’s Gloating Plan Revelation that the gas was going to be released at 12 midnight. Alaniz and the others decide to ‘head out’ (ha ha) to the cave and intercept the Nazis before they can release the G-gas.

Cut to see turncoat Tom Sharon, Hitler (now a wax head in a jar for the long shots), and some Nazis speeding out towards the caves. But first they decided to swing into town and pick up David, whom they assume is waiting for them. (Why they would suspect that David was in town is not clear. Oh, and how much do you wanna bet that the cave is in Bronson Canyon?)

Adolf Hitler head Adolf Hitler head

Upon arrival, Tom spots his son’s body laying in the plaza."You killed him! You killed my son!" Tom laments as he kneels beside David’s lifeless body. (Yeah, Tom, Nazis tend to do that sort of thing. Maybe you should have thought of that before casting your lot in with Adolf Hitler!)

Finally realizing that people might actually get hurt in a Nazi plot to overthrow the world, Tom has a change of heart and attacks his escort. Oh dear, Tom’s a bit slow and is gunned down before he can get close enough to do any harm. Hitler, being the vicious bastard that he is, watches from the car and makes an evil…well, maybe not evil, just weird, grin.

Adolf Hitler head

Well, with that scene at an end, Hitler and Frank head out to Bronson Canyon where a host of Nazi generals are soon to arrive by airplane in order to pick up their share of the gas to take back to the release points throughout the world.

Meanwhile, Alaniz has gathered a rag-tag posse of folks to help him overthrow the Nazi threat. Let me see who the Nazis are up against:

  • Chief Alaniz – A cop, so maybe a threat.
  • President Padua (!) – The country’s 70-year old President is tagging along?
  • Phil – We’ve all seen how competent this clown is.
  • KC and Suzanne – Uh, yeah. Bring them along. At least KC has proven more competent than Phil.
  • Professor Coleman – Boy, you can never have too many aging chemistry professors around when fighting fascists.
  • Camino – He whipped Phil’s ass when they met at the hotel, so maybe he’s a bad ass. But then again, he whipped…Phil.
  • Some Guy from the bar named Pablo – Gee. I wonder what his chances of surviving are?
  • Some Guy from the bar named Pablo’s girlfriend (!) – wtf?!

Wow. What an awesome threat these guys are going to be.

Back to the action: Alaniz points out the Nazi’s rendezvous point and orders everybody to head up hillside and take positions.

"Won’t there be any soldiers?" Phil asks.

"With a weapon like G-gas," Alaniz ominously replies, "what need have they for soldiers?"

Well, uh, they might have soldiers guarding the perimeter of the rendezvous point!!!


Reaching the top of the hill overlooking the Nazi landing site (and yes, it’s Bronson Canyon), Alaniz and the men (I have no idea where the women have disappeared to) cuddle together and take cover behind a rock.

Hiding behind rock

Oh, Ok, the women were waiting at the bottom of the hill because having 6 people behind a rock would have been too easy for the Nazis to see, whereas having only 4 guys is OK. Anyway, Camino and Pablo decide to split off and attack from a different spot. Keeping true to her free-loving spirit, and with things pretty much over between her and David, Suzanne gives Camino a long, wet kiss for luck before he scampers off.

At 11:50, a strange noise fills the air. "It sounds like a plane," Alaniz says while looking up at a winged-vehicle flying through the air with the aid of a propeller. Wow. Between you and Phil…whew. I feel safer already.

As midnight approaches, a truck load of soldiers arrives at the scene.

"No soldiers, huh?" Phil says as a jab to Alaniz. (Man, what an ungrateful jerk. Alaniz saved his ass from the Nazi’s prison and that’s the type of thanks he gets?)

"We have grenades," Alaniz counters, "against soldiers they are old fashioned [?!] but effective."

"The plane should land about…there," says Alaniz as he points to the landing strip. (Seriously. You think?)

In an effort to eat up some run time, we are now forced to sit through long rock climbing scenes ("Rock climbing!" If you have to ask, don’t worry about it.) as Camino and Pablo take their positions on the cliffs.

With time running out, and most likely the film’s budget as well, things start happening pretty fast, so let’s just get this over with.

Camino and Pablo start blowing everything up with a bunch of grenades, completely catching the Nazi’s off guard. (Yeah, Nazis were never very meticulous when planning any sort of military operation.) As Frank tries to drive off with Hitler’s head, the car suddenly won’t start (boy, talk about a shitty time to get a dead battery) and Camino blows them both up with a grenade.

With the theme song from The Creature from the Black Lagoon (!!!) blaring on the soundtrack, we cut to see Hitler’s head melting in the flames. (Melting because it’s now turned into a cheap wax model.)

Adolf Hitler head Adolf Hitler head

Later, back at the hotel, President Padua thanks Phil for saving the day.

"Confusion and surprise have won more than one war," says Phil. (Yeah, I’d definitely agree with the "confusion" part of it.)

Out of the blue, Suzanne calls to tell everybody that she and Camino are now happily married (HUH!!!!????!!!??? When did this happen?). Coleman, Alaniz, and Padua head down to the hotel bar to celebrate leaving Phil and KC to do a little celebrating of their own.

"How about changing your name, Mr. Day," KC coos.

"What did you have in mind, Mrs. Day?" Phil murmurs back.

"Like, uh, what comes after Day?…"

Close with a kiss and fade to credits…

Brain. Shutting. Down. The. End.

Dennis Grisbeck (January 2010)


They Saved Hitler’s Brain is an example of what I like to think of as a ‘Frankensteined Film’, i.e., a movie composed of one or more complete separate works welded not-so-seemlessly into a final inferior product. A couple of flagship examples of such cinimatic shinanigans include Al Adamson’s horror ‘classic’ Dracula vs Frankenstein, and the unforgivable Bill Rebane/Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Monster A-Go Go, so rush right out and see them if you dare…

Anyway, this movie is a sad, confusing mess from start to finish. Normally, I find such films enjoyable (hence, this web site), but the payoff of finally seeing Hitler’s head comes way too late, and we see way too little of it. About the only thing the head does is sneer and yell ‘Mach schnell! Mach Schnell!’ before turning into a wax dummy and melting in the final scene. To think of the potential fun we could have had if there had only been more Hitler-head screen time. Alas, it was not meant to be.

And…the rest of the story:

Despite appearing in this movie, Carlos Riva (Teo and Camino) actually had a respectable acting career, including performances alongside Yul Brynner in The King and I and other appearences in over 80 films. Carlos went on to be a founding member of a Hollywood organization called ‘Los Nosotros’ which focused on improving the lot of Latin American workers in the entertainment industry.

Veteran character actor Nestor Paiva (Chief Alaniz) is of course best known for his role as Captain Lucas in The Creature of the Black Lagoon (and its followup, Revenge of the Creature (1955)). Showing up in nearly 300 films, Nestor has worked in such sci-fi gems as Tarantula (1955), and The Mole People (1956).

Meanwhile, Bill Freed (Hitler’s head) fell off the radar after this movie and was never seen again until showing up as footage in a 2007 look at Adolf Hitler in popular culture called Hitler: The Comedy Years. (!!!)

PS: In a funny note, actor Larry Burrell (unclear on his role in this film since he’s merely listed under ‘Rest of cast’ in IMDB) was also the smooth-voiced (and overworked) narrator in The Creeping Terror!


2 comments to They Saved Hitler’s Brain (1963)

  • guts3d

    …As they drive around, HG tells Phil that Professor Coleman has been kidnapped and taken to Mandoras. Before he can reveal any more information, the dark car that’s been tailing them pulls up along side and fires a bullet into HG’s neck.

    “Something’s wrong!” KC shouts as the bad guys peel off.

    “What is it?” asks Agent Phil.

    Gee, maybe it has something to do with the gunshot fired 2 feet from your window, you moron!

    Instead of immediately pulling over and summoning help, Phil drives around for a while, a long, long while I guess, since it’s now daytime again (man, I’m getting sick of this), and finally stops the car.

    “He’s been shot!” Phil the Super Sleuth deduces after seeing the bullet hole in the guy’s neck.

    Nice!Great review, it made my day!

  • guts3d

    … At 11:50, a strange noise fills the air. “It sounds like a plane,” Alaniz says while looking up at a winged-vehicle flying through the air with the aid of a propeller. Wow. Between you and Phil…whew. I feel safer already.

    Chuckle! I have been re-reading an occasional review when time permits, great stuff!

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