The Roth family leads 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, one 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
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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a traditional student drinking song dating from the 13th century. The melody appears in the score when Professor Roth enters the school and the traditional Latin words are sung by his class during his birthday celebration. See more »
Although I have read that MGM, in an effort not to alienate the lucrative German movie market, deliberately removed any reference to the location of the movie, I did not find this to be the case. Constantly throughout the film we are told that these events are taking place in a town in southern Germany. And even though no mention is made of the Jews, only Non-Aryans, when we see Frank Morgans character, Professor Roth, in the concentration camp he has the letter "J" printed on the cuffs of his prison uniform. Yes, the word "Nazi" was never used, but the swastika was everywhere! They even had swastika lighting! All in all, I enjoyed this film quite a bit. Most of the performances were very good, particularly James Stewart and Frank Morgan. However, Robert Young's portrayal of a Nazi torn between duty and old friendships is unconvincing.
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