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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W.S. Van Dyke
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 »
Prof. Viktor Roth (Frank Morgan) is 60 years old in January 30, 1933 so he was born in 1873. When his card is shown in the concentration camp, year 1875 is written. 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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Any movie that has Robert Young, Robert Stack and Ward Bond cast as Nazis is at least worth watching. And this movie does not disappoint. This movie portrays the disintegration of a German family in the immediate aftermath of Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933. The family splits along political lines, with some for and others against Hitler. This family is symbolic of what probably happened to families throughout Germany as people had to choose whether to support Hitler, even against their better judgment, or rely on the strength of their convictions and face the consequences - ostracism, beatings, arrest, internment and death. This movie also suggests that although most Germans wholeheartedly welcomed Hitler's rise to power and gladly rallied around the Nazi flag with its infamous symbol, the swastika, some Germans rejected the Nazi message of bigotry and violence. Robert Young's portrayal of a loyal Nazi with a guilty conscience and Frank Morgan's portrayal of a "non-Aryan" physics professor are particularly noteworthy performances. Although the movie was made in 1940, its message transcends the bounds of time and therefore is definitely worth watching.
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