The Roth family leads a quiet life in a small village in the German Alps during the early 1930s. When the Nazis come to power, the family is divided and Martin Breitner, a family friend, is caught up in the turmoil.
Interesting to note that the film was made in 1940, one year before America's entry into the European war against Hitler. The movie depicts Germany in 1933. In 1938 the 'night of broken glass' took place. Interesting to note the attitudes portrayed in the film, definitely anti-Nazi.Written by
James Stewart and Ward Bond would work together again later in It's A Wonderful Life. See more »
The famous book burning that went over Germany in 1933 did not happen until May 1933, while the movie is set in Winter during January, February. See more »
[white clouds appear; they quickly turn to storm clouds]
When man was new upon the earth, he was frightened by the dangers of the elements. He cried out, "The gods of the lightning are angry, and I must kill my fellow man to appease them!" As man grew bolder, he created shelters against the wind and the rain and made harmless the force of the lightning. But within man himself were elements strong as the wind and terrible as the lightning. And he denied the existence of these ...
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a traditional student drinking song dating from the 13th century. The melody appears in the score when Professor Roth enters the school and the traditional Latin words are sung by his class during his birthday celebration. See more »
Nothing short of a masterpiece !
This film is nothing short of a masterpiece ! For its time. Although the world situation has changed completely today, and the film may have little or no relevance to the current world situation, at the time in 1940, this was a very very powerful work indeed ! I had always been curious about this film, having read the book when I was young ( in the 1960's ) and was shocked by it ! It's not a war film and it's not the war aspect that frightened me. No, its the way a happily united family can become so disunited because of politics which sent shivers up my spine !! Suddenly, a peaceful and harmonious situation changes dramatically, and you are obliged to take sides, even fighting against your own blood. It really is awesome. Acting is first-rate and image, though in black and white is more than passable for the period ! I can well imagine the film to have been a very powerful piece of anti-Nazi propaganda ! I'm sorry to have to complain about this again but here we have yet another film which should have been out on DVD for several years but ........ there's no sign of it !
Quite honestly, I found this quite unnerving to watch and felt ill at ease observing the gradual breakdown within the family. It certainly isn't a film for the faint hearted and I won't go any further than mention briefly that AWFUL final scene ........!!
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