Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Premiered on television in 1968 (apparently)
Directed by David Bradley, with extra footage directed by David Hulette
Written by Steve Bennett and Richard Miles
Cast: Teri Tabakin, Walter Stocker, Larry Burrell, Audrey Caire, Carlos Rivas, John Holland, Marshall Reed, Scott Peters, Keith Dahle, Nestor Paiva, Dani Lynn, Pedro Regas, and once again, Bill Freed as the head of Adolf Hitler
If the synopsis for this film sounds vaguely familiar—Adolf Hitler’s head is lopped off and stored in a jar, where Nazis hope someday it will resurrect the Third Reich and rule the world—that’s because this movie and the 1963 low-budget snoozer Madmen of Mandoras are actually one and the same!
At some point down the line, a production company felt that 64 minutes of Adolf’s glass-encased noggin in Mandoras wasn’t enough to retain viewer interest (or enough to fill a television time slot), so they hired students at UCLA to film additional matching footage—which of course failed to match anything—and titled this updated version They Saved Hitler’s Brain.
These new scenes introduced Vic and Toni, a pair of hip C.I.D. agents who were gone from the proceedings well before we saw either Hitler or Mandoras, and these scenes not only rendered the existing story incomprehensible, but were also obvious in their mediocrity and anachronistic nature, and seemed to take place in an entirely different film production and time frame.
Clothing, hairstyles, and motor vehicles all looked to be borrowed from somewhere in the future—say, the Haight-Ashbury district of the late-1960s—and though the film was labeled with a release year of 1968, I’ve read that components of the Volkswagen driven by Agent Toni were not available before 1973, and the film’s earliest television airing was in 1976.
And of the two actors playing the agents, only one had a name I could track down: Tari Tabakin, a cute blonde who years later had small roles in a television series and two forgettable movies. But the name and whereabouts of the suave actor playing the other agent—who, depending on where your interests lie, resembles either Cardinals first baseman Keith Hernandez or Journey vocalist Steve Perry—remains an enigma.
All in all, nearly thirty minutes of this fresh material was spliced into the beginning of the original film, and if you’re wondering if this did anything for production value, the answer is no: the titles were by Pacific Title, the sound was by Todd-AO, and that was it for any kind of value, production or otherwise. In the end, all that resulted from this added portion was to make They Saved Hitler’s Brain a half-hour longer than its prior incarnation…which in turn made Madmen of Mandoras the more watchable of the two. (1/10)