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Watch on the Rhine (1943)

 -  Drama  -  27 August 1943 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,337 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 15 critic

Sara and Kurt Muller and their three children are returning to her mother's home in Washington DC after 18 years in Europe. A Romanian Count living there discovers Kurt's attache case full ... See full summary »

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (additional scenes and dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Title: Watch on the Rhine (1943)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Lucile Watson ...
...
George Coulouris ...
Donald Woods ...
...
Phili Von Ramme
...
Bodo
Donald Buka ...
Joshua
...
Italian Man
Helmut Dantine ...
Young Man
Clyde Fillmore ...
Sam Chandler
Erwin Kalser ...
Dr. Klauber
Kurt Katch ...
Herr Blecher
Edit

Storyline

Sara and Kurt Muller and their three children are returning to her mother's home in Washington DC after 18 years in Europe. A Romanian Count living there discovers Kurt's attache case full of money. He also finds out from friends at the German Embassy that Kurt is working with an anti-Nazi underground group in Germany. He tries to blackmail Kurt. Kurt shoots him and must flee. When Sara hears no more of Kurt, she knows that her oldest son Joshua will soon leave to work in the underground. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

On her lonesome lips a smile.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

27 August 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Wacht am Rhein  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pre-production on the film had to be halted whilst writer Dashiell Hammett recovered from a bad back. By the time he was able to resume work some months later, the production of Now, Voyager (1942) had concluded and Bette Davis was now available. See more »

Goofs

At 43:31, Sara's hand on David's arm changes position. See more »

Quotes

Fanny Farrelly: There is a great deal of gossip about both of you.
David Farrelly: ...There is nothing to gossip about.
Fanny Farrelly: That never stopped anybody from gossiping.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Doughgirls (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

Akademische Festouvertüre (Academic Festival Overture) Op. 80
(1880) (uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
Excerpt played in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lillian Hellman's World War II View
30 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Many of the criticisms on this thread seem to pick a comparison of this film with "The Mortal Storm" or "Casablanca". Everyone is entitled to compare films they choose, but the similarities of "The Mortal Storm" and "Watch On The Rhine" are clearly the problems of refugees threatened by the Nazi juggernaut, while the main comparative point brought out with "Casablanca" is the seeming unjust treatment of Humphrey Bogart in 1943 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, because they chose Paul Lukas instead for the Best Actor Oscar. It does not strike me as totally wrong. Lukas had a good career in film (both here and in England - he is the villain in "The Lady Vanishes"), and this performance was his best one. Bogart had more great performances in him than Rick Blaine (for instance, he was ignored for Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon" and Roy Earle in "High Sierra" two years earlier, both of which were first rate performances, and he would not get an Oscar for his greatest performances as Fred C. Dobbs in "The Treasure Of Sierra Madres", the writer/murder suspect in "In A Lonely Place", and Captain Philip Francis Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny" afterward - he got it for Charley in "The African Queen"). I think that Bogie should have got it for the role of Dobbs, but it did not happen. But Lukas was lucky - he got it on the defining performance of his lesser career. Few can claim that.

To me the film to look at with "Watch On The Rhine" is based on another play/script by Hellman, "The Searching Wind". They both look at America's spirit of isolationism in the 1920s and 1930s. "The Searching Wind" is really looking at the whole inter-war period, while "Watch On The Rhine", set in the years just proceeding our entry into World War II, deals with a few weeks of time. Therefore it is better constructed as a play, and more meaningful for it's impact.

The film has many good performances, led by Lukas as the exhausted but determined anti-Nazi fighter/courier, Davis as his loyal wife (wisely keeping her character as low keyed as possible due to Lukas being the center of the play's activities), Coulouris as the selfish, conniving, but ultimately foolish and ineffective Teck, Lucille Watson as the mother of Davis and Geraldine Fitzgerald (as Coulouris' wiser and sadder and fed up wife), and Kurt Katch, who delivers a devastating critique (as the local embassy's Gestapo chief) about Coulouris and others who would deal with the Nazis. It has dialog with bite in it. And what it says is quite true. It also has moments of near poetry. Witness the scene, towards the end, when Coulouris is left alone with Lukas and Davis, and says, "The New World has left the scene to the Old World". Hellman could write very well at times.

Given the strength of the film script and performances I would rate this film highly among World War II films.


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