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Watch on the Rhine (1943)

Approved | | Drama | 27 August 1943 (USA)
A German-born engineer, his American wife and their children travel from Mexico to the United States to visit her family but their plans are complicated by a Romanian count.

Directors:

Herman Shumlin, Hal Mohr (uncredited)

Writers:

Dashiell Hammett (screen play), Lillian Hellman (additional scenes and dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Sara Muller
Paul Lukas ... Kurt Muller
Geraldine Fitzgerald ... Marthe de Brancovis
Lucile Watson ... Fanny Farrelly
Beulah Bondi ... Anise
George Coulouris ... Teck de Brancovis
Donald Woods ... David Farrelly
Henry Daniell ... Phili Von Ramme
Eric Roberts ... Bodo
Donald Buka ... Joshua
Anthony Caruso ... Italian Man
Helmut Dantine ... Young Man
Clyde Fillmore Clyde Fillmore ... Sam Chandler
Erwin Kalser Erwin Kalser ... Dr. Klauber
Kurt Katch ... Herr Blecher
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Storyline

A German-born engineer, his American wife and their children travel from Mexico to the United States to visit her family but their plans are complicated by a Romanian count.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

On her lonesome lips a smile.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

27 August 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Wacht am Rhein See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bette Davis was the original choice for the female lead but as she was still involved with making Now, Voyager (1942), other actresses were approached. Irene Dunne expressed some interest but felt that the role was too small whilst Margaret Sullavan turned the part down flat. Edna Best, Rosemary DeCamp and Helen Hayes were also considered. See more »

Goofs

At 58:53, camera and crew are reflected on the car. See more »

Quotes

Kurt Muller: [in response to an Italian man on the train asking what he does] I fight against fascism. That is my trade.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tales from the Warner Bros. Lot (2013) 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 blanche-2See 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.


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