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This Land Is Mine (1943)

 -  Drama | War  -  7 May 1943 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 1,770 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 18 critic

A mild-mannered schoolteacher in a Nazi occupied town during WWII finds himself being torn between collaboration and resistance.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Albert Lory
...
Louise Martin
...
Walter Slezak ...
Major Erich von Keller
Kent Smith ...
...
Mrs. Emma Lory
Philip Merivale ...
Professor Sorel
Thurston Hall ...
Mayor Henry Manville
George Coulouris ...
Prosecutor
Nancy Gates ...
Julie Grant
Ivan F. Simpson ...
Judge (as Ivan Simpson)
John Donat ...
Edmund Lorraine
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Storyline

In a Nazi-occupied French town, meek and mild-mannered teacher Albert Lory lives with his mother. Few people, including his students, have any respect for him and he literally shakes in his boots during an air raid. He is quite friendly with his fellow teacher, Louise Martin and her brother Paul who also happen to be neighbors. If truth be told, Albert is quite in love with Louise but she is in a relationship with George Lambert and he feels she is quite beyond his reach. Paul is a member of the resistance and is killed when Lambert informs the Nazis. Outraged at what he's done, Albert arrives at Lambert's office just as the informer commits suicide. Albert is charged with murder but the local Nazi commander, Major Erich von Keller, offers him a deal: if Albert agrees to remain silent rather then continue a speech in his own defense which is arousing fellow citizens, he will ensure a not guilty verdict. Albert returns to the courtroom and in an act of bravery urges his fellow citizens... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

7 May 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esta Terra é Minha  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The singing of "Die Lorelei" by the German soldiers was a subtle dig at the anti-semitic regime of the Nazis, since the words were written by banned Jewish poet Heinrich Heine. Many of his books, considered "un-German," were burned in the book-burning episode at Opernplatz, Berlin, Germany, on 10 May 1933. However, his works were so popular that they were still published, but "author unknown" was the listed writer. In his 1821 play "Almansor," Heine also prophetically wrote "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen." ("Where they burned books, they will in the end in burn people.") See more »

Goofs

In the initial scenes on the village, an advertisement for War Bonds can be seen on a wall. Although the French government sought funds from its population during the First World War (through National Defense Loans), it would not have occurred in the Second World War as France was so quickly defeated and occupied. The advertisement in this movie therefore is more likely to be a near-subliminal appeal to the American population to purchase War Bonds to support the US effort. See more »

Quotes

Professor Sorel: It's very difficult surgical operation. Cut the heart out without killing the patient. The history of our country, however, is a very tough old patient, and we'll do the best we can.
See more »

Soundtracks

Die Lorelei
(1838) (uncredited)
Music by Friedrich Silcher (1838)
Poem by Heinrich Heine (1823)
Played on accordion by Kent Smith and sung by the German soldiers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great story of human dignity.
16 April 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Jean Renoir managed to flee France because of the Nazi invasion and spent World War II turning out some pretty good films in America. Maybe the best is this heartfelt tribute to his beloved and occupied France.

He got the best possible actor for his protagonist. Charles Laughton could play tortured and flawed human beings like no other actor ever could in the English speaking world. Here he is a French schoolteacher, middle-aged, shy, and mother dominated by Una O'Connor. And he's afraid of his own shadow.

He also loves neighbor and fellow schoolteacher Maureen O'Hara and she's got a fiancé who's a collaborator and a brother in the resistance played by George Sanders and Kent Smith.

It's all these people's story and even the local gauleiter Walter Slezak is not a simple brute as Nazis are so often portrayed.

The story involves Laughton's growth as a human being, seeing what is happening to his town, the people around him, and most of all to the school to both the children and the teachers. The last twenty minutes of the film are almost exclusively his. In both a courtroom and a classroom, he has some brilliantly delivered speeches explaining to the town why they must resist the evil upon them.

For me the best scene is in the courtroom where Laughton is accused of murder and throws away a carefully prepared script that Slezak has offered him. He tells the town what they need to hear and then declares his love for O'Hara and the reasons for him doing what he's doing.

During that part of Laughton's speech the camera focuses totally on Maureen O'Hara and her reactions to Laughton's words. It's a beautiful crafted scene by a great director.

A film classic for the ages.


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