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
Although "Produced by Loew's Incorporated" is on-screen, studio records show Loew's Incorporated just controlled the movie. 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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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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