In 1944, the war is not going well for the Nazis, and the citizens of Berlin know it. Amidst shortages and bombings, a woman is found strangled. Returning wounded from the Eastern front, police commissar Axel Kersten (Holm) starts to investigate. The dead woman’s lover (Peters) is arrested, but Kersten suspects he’s innocent. Soon evidence points to the brutish, mentally handicapped Bruno Ludke (Adorf), who may have murdered many more women. But the Nazi regime is loath to acknowledge any miscarriage of justice, or having a serial killer in their midst for over a decade. Can justice prevail?
Director Siodmak, the gifted director of American noirs like “The Killers”, returned to his native Germany later in life and made this underexposed gem. Based on a true story, “Devil” boasts a twisty plot, tight script, and a terrific cast. Though Holm makes a solid protagonist, Hannes Messemer almost steals the picture playing a smooth, loathsome S.S. officer tracking the murder inquiry. Duringer also impresses as the savvy police file clerk who catches Holm’s eye. And Adorf’s Bruno will send shivers up your spine. Currently only available on blu-ray, this smart, tingling thriller fully warrants a purchase.