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49th Parallel (1941)

 -  Drama | War | Thriller  -  15 April 1942 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,678 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 43 critic

A WW2 U-boat crew is stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.

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(original story and screenplay), (scenario), 1 more credit »
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Title: 49th Parallel (1941)

49th Parallel (1941) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard George ...
Kommandant Bernsdorff
Eric Portman ...
Lieutenant Hirth
Raymond Lovell ...
Lieutenant Kuhnecke
Niall MacGinnis ...
Vogel
Peter Moore ...
Kranz
John Chandos ...
Lohrmann
Basil Appleby ...
Jahner
...
Johnnie - the Trapper
...
The Factor
Ley On ...
Nick - the Eskimo
Anton Walbrook ...
Peter
...
Anna
Charles Victor ...
Andreas
Frederick Piper ...
David
...
Philip Armstrong Scott
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Storyline

In the early years of World War II, a German U-boat (U-37) sinks Allied shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and then tries to evade Canadian Military Forces seeking to destroy it by sailing up to Hudson Bay. The U-boat's Fanatical Nazi captain sends some members of his crew to look for food and other supplies at a Hudson Bay Company outpost. No sooner than the shore party (lead by Lieutenant Hirth) reaches the shore, the U-boat is spotted and sunk by the Canadian Armed Forces leaving the six members of the shore party stranded in Canada. The Nazi Lieutenant then starts to plan his crews' return to the Fatherland. He needs to reach the neutral United States or be captured. Along the way they meet a variety of characters each with their own views on the war and nationalism. In this film Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger show their ideas of why the United States should join the Allied fight against the Nazis. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

nazi | u boat | canada | seaplane | fight | See more »

Taglines:

THE MIGHTEST MANHUNT THAT EVER SWEPT THE SCREEN! (original poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | War | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

15 April 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

49th Parallel  »

Box Office

Budget:

£132,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Commissioned by the Ministry of Information to raise worldwide awareness (American in particular) of the Nazi threat. However, it was intended for Canadian consumption also, as many French Canadians did not want to be at war with Germany and did not want to fight. Vichy France was an ally of Nazi Germany, and many French Canadians in Quebec were pro-German. One of the reasons Laurence Olivier, the biggest star in the film, played a French Canadian trapper named Johnny who tells the Nazi officer he is a "Canadian" in the film and not "French" was that it was intended also as propaganda to promote pro-British feeling in Quebec. When Canada resorted to conscription to swell the ranks of its army, there were draft riots throughout Quebec against the UK, which had subjugated New France less than 200 years before. Anti-war sentiment was so rife throughout Canada that Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King declared that only volunteers would be shipped off to Europe. See more »

Goofs

When the train is going over the railroad bridge at Niagara Falls ostensibly traveling from Canada to the U.S., it actually is heading from the U.S. into Canada. The water in the Niagara River under the bridge in the scene is coming toward the camera, with the train moving across the bridge from left to right. Canada would be on the right in the shot, the direction the so-called U.S. bound train is traveling. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prologue: I see a long, straight line athwart a continent. No chain of forts, or deep flowing river, or mountain range, but a line drawn by men upon a map, nearly a century ago, accepted with a handshake, and kept ever since. A boundary which divides two nations, yet marks their friendly meeting ground. The 49th parallel: the only undefended frontier in the world.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Along with the credits for the actors at the beginning of the film, there is a 'starring' credit for 'The music of Ralph Vaughan Williams'. See more »

Connections

Featured in Showbiz Goes to War (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Alouette
Traditional French folksong
Sung a cappella by Laurence Olivier
See more »

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User Reviews

The score of this film should not be left out of any appreciation...
14 July 2001 | by See all my reviews

I should only like to add to the already comprehensive, very well observed and intelligent review of this film on the previous pages, namely, that the film score by the great Ralph Vaughan Williams should not be left out of any discussion of the picture. As the film starts with the magnificent mountain scenery and Eric Portman's fantastic introductory speech ("shook hands on it and kept it ever since...", "the 49th parallel, the only undefended border in the world...") you seem to be immediately transported into the spirit and persuasion of this exercise in trying to convince all Americans, not just Canadians, that they should join the fight, their place is with all the others, Europeans, British, French, all peoples under the Nazi yoke.


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