The story of the rise of the Rothschild financial empire founded by Mayer Rothschild and continued by his five sons. From humble beginnings the business grows and helps to finance the war ... See full summary »
The story of the rise of the Rothschild financial empire founded by Mayer Rothschild and continued by his five sons. From humble beginnings the business grows and helps to finance the war against Napoleon, but it's not always easy, especially because of the prejudices against Jews. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
George Arliss asked Warner Bros. to buy the play on which this film was based while he was under contract there in 1931. Warners bought the play but did not make the film. When Arliss left Warners, he convinced Darryl F. Zanuck to purchase the play from Warners for 20th Century Pictures, where it was eventually made. See more »
This is quite a rousing film for a biopic, and sports one of Arliss's best performances. Made two years after Hitler's rise to power, the whole subtext of the film is anti-Semitism and the then-current events in Europe. Napoleon is the stand-in for Hitler--the man all peace-loving men must join together to wage war against to secure peace. There are scenes of violence in the Jewish ghetto--stirred up by anti-Semite Karloff. Everything Rothschild does he does to end anti-Semitism; many speeches on this theme. Rothschild's father is shown as a Shylock-type, making money with money, fooling the tax collector, but with reluctance and great bitterness, doing so only because other professions are denied him, and because the tax collector overcharges Jews. C. Aubrey Smith gives a really delightful performance as Wellington. The final scene is one of the first live-action sequences to be made in three-color Technicolor, before BECKY SHARP. The topicality gives the film an immediacy that is often lacking in period films.
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