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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 2,425 users  
Reviews: 44 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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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
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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: We've been shaken out of the magnolias.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

America, My Country 'Tis of Thee
(1832) (uncredited)
Music attributed to Henry Carey ("God Save the King!") (1744)
Played often in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Machts gut, Papa
19 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An American woman, her European husband and children return to her mother's home in "Watch on the Rhine," a 1943 film based on the play by Lillian Hellman, and starring Paul Lukas (whom I believe is repeating his stage role here), Bette Davis, Lucile Watson, George Coulouris, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Donald Woods. An anti-Fascist, a worker in the underground movement, many times injured, and wanted by the Nazis, Kurt Muller (Lukas) is in need of a long vacation on the estate of his wealthy mother-in-law. But he finds out that there is truly no escape as one of the houseguests (Coulouris) is suspicious as to his true identity and more than willing to sell him out.

Great performances abound in this film, written very much to put forth Lillian Hellman's liberal point of view. It was certainly a powerful propaganda vehicle at the time it was released, as the evils of war and what was happening to people in other countries reach into safe American homes. The movie's big controversy today is that Paul Lukas won an Oscar over Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca." Humphrey Bogart was a wonderful screen presence and a fabulous Rick, but Lukas is transcendent as Kurt. The monologue he has about the need to kill is gut-wrenching, just to mention one scene.

Though this isn't what one thinks of as a Bette Davis movie, she gives a masterful performance here as Kurt's loyal and loving wife, Sara. Her acting tugs at the heart, and the love scenes between Kurt and Sara are beautiful and tender.

The last half hour of the film had me in tears with the honesty of the emotions. Lillian Hellman is not everyone's cup of tea, but unlike "The Little Foxes," she has written some truly sympathetic, wonderful characters and a fine story given A casting and production values by Warner Brothers. Highly recommended.


16 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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