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Four Sons (1940) More at IMDbPro »


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John Howard Lawson (original screenplay)
I.A.R. Wylie (suggested by a story by)
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Release Date:
14 June 1940 (USA) See more »
When the Germans invade Czechoslovakia the four sons of a Czecho-German family follow different paths: Czech patriot, Nazi supporter, artist in America, and heroic German soldier. | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
The shocking truth of Czechoslovakian oppression by the Nazi's. See more (3 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Don Ameche ... Chris
Eugenie Leontovich ... Frau Bern

Mary Beth Hughes ... Anna

Alan Curtis ... Karl
George Ernest ... Fritz

Robert Lowery ... Joseph
Lionel Royce ... Max Sturm
Sig Ruman ... Newmann (as Sig Rumann)
Ludwig Stössel ... Pastor (as Ludwig Stossel)
Christian Rub ... Kapek
Torben Meyer ... Gustav
Egon Brecher ... Richter
Eleanor Wesselhoeft ... Frau Richter
Michael Visaroff ... Burgomaster
Greta Meyer ... Frau Sturm
Ernst Hausman ... Schmitt
Rudolph Anders ... Hempel (as Robert O. Davis)
Hans Schumm ... Muller
Frederick Vogeding ... Hinckerman (as Fredrik Vogeding)
Wilhelm von Brincken ... Gortner (as William Von Brincken)
Ragnar Qvale ... Storm Trooper
Robert Conway ... Storm Trooper
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Bleifer ... Czech Soldier (uncredited)
Bobby Caldwell ... Young Boy (uncredited)

Marguerite Chapman ... Peasant (uncredited)
Carlo Clarke ... Karl Jr. (uncredited)
Georgia Clarke ... Karl Jr. (uncredited)
Joseph Crehan ... American Editor (uncredited)
Arno Frey ... German Officer (uncredited)
Hans Joby ... Waiter (uncredited)
Tiny Jones ... Townswoman (uncredited)
Lee Kohlmar ... Doctor (uncredited)
Anna Lisa ... Bridesmaid (uncredited)
Herta Lynd ... Bridesmaid (uncredited)

Mae Marsh ... Townswoman (uncredited)
Steve O'Brien ... Office Boy (uncredited)
Lotte Palfi Andor ... Peasant (uncredited)
William Roberts ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Bodil Rosing ... Townswoman (uncredited)
Anna Marie Schunzel ... Peasant Girl (uncredited)
Hans von Morhart ... Sentry (uncredited)
Paul Weigel ... Peasant (uncredited)
William Yetter Sr. ... Guard (uncredited)
Wolfgang Zilzer ... Peasant (uncredited)

Directed by
Archie Mayo 
Writing credits
John Howard Lawson (original screenplay)

I.A.R. Wylie (suggested by a story by)

Milton Sperling (additional dialogue)

Produced by
Harry Joe Brown .... associate producer
Darryl F. Zanuck .... producer
Original Music by
David Buttolph (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Leon Shamroy (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Francis D. Lyon (film editor)
Art Direction by
Richard Day 
Albert Hogsett 
Set Decoration by
Thomas Little (set decorations)
Costume Design by
Travis Banton (costumes)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Henry Weinberger .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Don B. Greenwood .... property master (uncredited)
Sound Department
Alfred Bruzlin .... sound
Roger Heman Sr. .... sound (as Roger Heman)
Music Department
David Buttolph .... musical director
Charles Henderson .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Conrad Salinger .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Herbert W. Spencer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Harry Brand .... publicity director (uncredited)
Lorraine Dunne .... stand-in: Eugenie Leontovich (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
89 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
USA:Approved (PCA #6233) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Arthur Loft is in studio records/casting call lists for an unnamed role, but he was not seen in the movie.See more »
Movie Connections:
Edited into All This and World War II (1976)See more »
German National Anthem (Das Lied der Deutschen)See more »


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The shocking truth of Czechoslovakian oppression by the Nazi's., 2 September 2014
Author: mark.waltz from New York City

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Long before the United States got into the war already going on in Europe, the Hollywood propaganda machine began to take a dramatic look at the horrors going on overseas. Here, the setting is the German/Czechoslovakian border with four young men finding different paths in their destiny as their widowed mother (legendary stage actress Eugenie Leontovich) struggles to face the path that her family's life has taken. One son goes off to America, two become rivals over the same girl, and one of them refuses to accept the fact that his Czechoslovakian blood outweighs the German blood from their ancestorage as he sides with the Nazi's.

While Don Ameche gets top billing as the oldest of the sons, it is Miss Leontovich who steals the film as the strong but loving matriarch who is determined to keep her sons together at all means, even standing up for the Nazi (Alan Curtis) making plans with other sympathizers in the back of their home. She even stands face to face with the barrel of two guns between brothers, demanding that one of them kill her so she won't have to witness brothers becoming enemies. Pretty dramatic stuff and a performance that remains strongly believable today.

Beautifully filmed and directed by Archie Mayo, this is a sound remake of a 1928 film set in World War I, and the changing of the times is more than appropriate for its story. There's the usual amount of Eastern European schmaltz, including a festival scene with its entire cast in Liederhosen and other traditional garb. The problem with this film, having been rarely seen until fairly recently, is the fact that it was overshadowed by the very similar "The Mortal Storm" which also had a strong parental figure (in that film's case, patriarch Frank Morgan) fighting to keep their family together in spite of divided loyalties. As the war threatened to engulf the world, however, Hollywood saw a need to get the message of impending danger out there, and even if so many films of this time seem alike, they all have the patriotic theme of getting America ready "just in case", which in this case, they already knew was inevitable.

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