The Roth family lead a quiet life in a small village in the German Alps during the early 1930s. When the Nazis come to power, the family is divided and Martin Brietner, a family friend is caught up in the turmoil.
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Interesting to note that the film was made in 1940, 1 year before America's entry into the European war against Hitler. The movie depicts Germany in 1933. In 1938 the 'night of broken glass' took place. Interesting to note the attitudes portrayed in the film, definitely anti-Nazi. Written by
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler banned this film from release in Germany because of its strong anti-Nazi sentiments. In addition, all MGM films from that point until the end of the war were also banned in Germany because the studio made this one. See more »
Although the story takes place in 1933, Margaret Sullavan's hairstyle and clothing are strictly in the 1940 mode. See more »
[white clouds appear; they quickly turn to storm clouds]
When man was new upon the earth, he was frightened by the dangers of the elements. He cried out, "The gods of the lightning are angry, and I must kill my fellow man to appease them!" As man grew bolder, he created shelters against the wind and the rain and made harmless the force of the lightning. But within man himself were elements strong as the wind and terrible as the lightning. And he denied the existence of these ...
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When Hitler saw this movie he banned all MGM films from Nazi occupied Europe. That is how powerful this movie is. Top notch acting and high production values augment this thought provoking script about life in nazi Germany for an average family. Very final scene with a young Robert Stack and his brother is chilling. The message of this film of standing up against adversity and what you believe in, is as fresh today as in 1940 when this film was released. Cast is marvelous with a toss up between Jimmy Stewart and Frank Morgan (who played the wizard in Oz the year before) to who steals the film. But then everyone is good in this. Robert Young plays against type as an preppy evil Nazi. Interesting note: German Ambassador to US asked Louis B Mayer to "think twice" about releasing this movie. Thankfully he only thought once. See this you will not be disappointed.
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