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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. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 of the fact that the studio made this one. 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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This film is nothing short of a masterpiece ! For its time. Although the world situation has changed completely today, and the film may have little or no relevance to the current world situation, at the time in 1940, this was a very very powerful work indeed ! I had always been curious about this film, having read the book when I was young ( in the 1960's ) and was shocked by it ! It's not a war film and it's not the war aspect that frightened me. No, its the way a happily united family can become so disunited because of politics which sent shivers up my spine !! Suddenly, a peaceful and harmonious situation changes dramatically, and you are obliged to take sides, even fighting against your own blood. It really is awesome. Acting is first-rate and image, though in black and white is more than passable for the period ! I can well imagine the film to have been a very powerful piece of anti-Nazi propaganda ! I'm sorry to have to complain about this again but here we have yet another film which should have been out on DVD for several years but ........ there's no sign of it !
Quite honestly, I found this quite unnerving to watch and felt ill at ease observing the gradual breakdown within the family. It certainly isn't a film for the faint hearted and I won't go any further than mention briefly that AWFUL final scene ........!!
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