The Mortal Storm (1940)

Passed  |   |  Drama  |  14 June 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 3,041 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 22 critic

The Roth family lead a quiet life in a small village in the German Alps during the early 1930's. When the Nazi's come to power, the family is divided and Martin Brietner, a family friend is caught up in the turmoil.



(screen play), (screen play) (as Andersen Ellis) , 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Martin Breitner
Fritz Marberg
Professor Roth
Otto Von Rohn
Mrs. Roth
Erich Von Rohn
Maria Ouspenskaya ...
Mrs. Breitner
Gene Reynolds ...
Russell Hicks ...
William Edmunds ...
Esther Dale ...
Holl (as Dan Dailey Jr.)
Granville Bates ...
Professor Berg


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 Matt Goodwin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

german | alps | nazi | engagement | village | See All (76) »


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 June 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La tempête qui tue  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Reports claimed that uncredited co-producer Victor Saville actually directed large portions of the film. See more »


[first lines]
[white clouds appear; they quickly turn to storm clouds]
Narrator: 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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Referenced in Funny About Love (1990) See more »


Academic Festival Overture
(1880) (uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
In the score when Professor Roth enters the school
Sung in Latin by all in his class
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A storm of emotion
23 March 2003 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

I first saw The Mortal Storm when I was twelve or so and it made a huge impression on me. I've wanted to re-watch ever since and today, twenty-years later, I caught it again.

Produced in 1940, Frank Morgan, James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan head a terrific cast. This is a film which makes you think and makes you angry. Yes, it's melodramatic, but so what? It's melodrama in the best sense of the word. This is emotion serving the cause of reason, casting a shining light on darkness. This is a film which still has the power to make you sweat.

I'd like to address some of the specific criticisms made in the other comments.

Firstly, the film is set in 1933. It opens with the rise to power of Hitler, and visual references to the year 1933 appear in the film (The professor's paperwork in the prison, for instance, is dated August 29, 1933). How much time passes during the film is unclear, it is certainly less than a year, so escaping to Austria WAS still an option.

Secondly, the reason the "sons" could be Nazis, despite the Professor being "Non Aryan" was that they were his step-sons, the children of his wife's first marriage. I'm fairly certain that the daughter and younger son DID belong to the Professor, although this is not made clear.

44 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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