Hangmen Also Die is set in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi occupation. Czech loyalist Brian Donlevy assassinates the vicious Gestapo leader Heydrich, then goes into hiding. The wounded patriot is sheltered by history professor Walter Brennan, who is already under surveillance by the Nazis thanks to his veiled classroom attacks on the Third Reich. Fifth columnist Gene Lockhart arranges for the professor and 400 other Prague citizens to be rounded up as hostages, to be killed if Heydrich's assassin is not revealed. Ultimately Lockhart himself is framed by the citizenry, giving the actor full scope to cringe and cower as only he could. Persuasively directed by Fritz Lang, Hangmen Also Die was based on a story by Lang and expatriate German playwright Bertold Brecht.