7.4/10
4,730
63 user 45 critic

49th Parallel (1941)

Not Rated | | Drama, War, Thriller | 15 April 1942 (USA)
A World War II U-boat crew are stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.

Director:

Writers:

(original story and screenplay), (scenario) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Three modern day pilgrims investigate a bizarre crime in a small town on the way to Canterbury.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Dennis Price
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When Nazi anti-aircraft fire damages a British bomber, its crew bails out and seeks help from the Dutch underground.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Hugh Williams
Hour of Glory (1949)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on Britain in 1943, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Farrar, Jack Hawkins, Kathleen Byron
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

This "story of a ship," the British destroyer HMS Torrin, is told in flash backs by survivors as they cling to a life raft.

Directors: Noël Coward, David Lean
Stars: Noël Coward, John Mills, Bernard Miles
The Volunteer (1944)
War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

After a masterful performance as Othello in a London theater, Ralph Richardson is asked for an autograph by Fred, his dresser. A short while later, Fred has joined the Fleet Air Arm (Fly ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Ralph Richardson, Pat McGrath, Anna Neagle
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young Englishwoman goes to the Hebrides to marry her older, wealthier fiancé. When the weather keeps them separated on different islands, she begins to have second thoughts.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney
Night Ambush (1957)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Led by British officers, partisans on Crete plan to kidnap the island's German commander and smuggle him to Cairo to embarrass the occupiers.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Marius Goring, David Oxley
Fantasy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A melancholy poet reflects on three women he loved and lost in the past: a mechanical performing doll, a Venetian courtesan, and the consumptive daughter of a celebrated composer.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Moira Shearer, Robert Rounseville, Ludmilla Tchérina
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A true WW2 story: the British Navy must find and destroy a powerful German warship.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: John Gregson, Anthony Quayle, Peter Finch
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard George ...
...
Raymond Lovell ...
...
Peter Moore ...
John Chandos ...
Basil Appleby ...
...
...
Ley On ...
Nick - the Eskimo
...
...
Charles Victor ...
Frederick Piper ...
David
...
Edit

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

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

15 April 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

49th Parallel  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

£132,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

On a trip home to Wales, actor Niall MacGinnis was stopped and searched by police. He was arrested as a German spy when the police found a photo in his wallet of MacGinnis dressed in a German sailor's uniform, standing next to what appeared to be a U-boat. In fact, it was a publicity photo from MacGinnis' role in 49th Parallel (1941). MacGinnis spent several days in jail before documents were sent from London verifying that he had been in the movie. See more »

Goofs

The shots of the freighter sunk by the U-boat are clearly of two different vessels. (The first and third shots are of a ship with a large, rounded stern, while the ship seen in the second shot -- through the Germans' binoculars -- has a sharp, shallow stern. The funnels and some deck equipment are also different.) 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

Spoofed in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The best of all propaganda films.
1 July 1999 | by See all my reviews

Unless you believe George Orwell's claim that all art is propaganda; which, with all due respect to one of the twentieth century's finest minds, is poppycock. The propaganda film is a special kind of film, usually unbearable garbage. This one is an exception.

A German U-boat is sunk just off the coast of Canada and the surviving crew must make it through hostile enemy country to the neutral United States. After a short while their plight becomes known and the whole world is watching to see which nation, Canada or Germany, can manage to win the metaphorical battle.

The most interesting thing - considering the movie as propaganda - is that Powell's intended audience was the United States: he wanted to get that country involved in the war, or at least get the people of that country to support the war. Realise this and you realise how remarkably subtle the film is. Not once is Powell's goal explicitly stated or even alluded to; and even the underlying message (the USA *is* involved in the war, whether it wants to admit it or not) requires some thought to work out. Yet it's an integral part of the story. More explicit is the democracy vs. dictatorship theme, which is hammered home a number of different ways, not all of them obvious. (This theme is handled a bit too obviously now and then, I'll admit.)

Another interesting fact is that the hero of the story is either democracy, or Canada, or the Western Allies, or some such - no one person plays the role. The central characters are the Germans. In fact they're all quite likable (except for the doctrinaire Nazi, of course). Powell bends over backwards to inhibit anti-German sentiment. Despite all this we are not once on the Germans' side. We want them to be captured so long as they continue to serve an evil regime.

It's also a beautifully shot travelogue of Canada. And Ralph Vaughan Williams's score is lovely. He was seventy or so when he wrote it; he'd never written for the cinema before; he had his own ideas about what film music should be like.


76 of 110 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 63 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page