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Watch on the Rhine (1943)

Approved | | Drama | 27 August 1943 (USA)
Trailer
2:12 | Trailer
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 »
Reviews
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

Anti-Fascist German engineer Kurt Muller, with his American-born wife, Sara, and their three children, returns to the United States in 1940 after spending 17 years in Europe, where Kurt has engaged in underground resistance to the rising Nazi threat. Unscrupulous Romanian count Teck de Brancovis, a houseguest of Sara's family in Washington, D.C., discovers Kurt's secret and threatens to expose his activities to his contacts at the German embassy. Written by Jwelch5742

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ann Blyth played the daughter, Babette, in the original stage play. See more »

Goofs

Also during the breakfast scene between George Coulouris and Geraldine Fitzgerald, her hair is sensibly shorter in close-ups. See more »

Quotes

Fanny Farrelly: Jenny's daughter is still going with that actor. Humph. An actor! Fashions in sin change. In my day it was Englishmen!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Dick Cavett Show: Bette Davis (2) (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Fighting fascism
3 May 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Lillian Hellman, one of America's most famous women playwrights, was a woman with a mission. Her leftist views were not well regarded at the time in the country. In her memoir, she recounts her trip to the then, Soviet Union, as she was intrigued with the so called successes achieved by that system. "Watch on the Rhine" must have come as a result of those years. The left wing in America, as all over the world had an issue with the rise of fascism, not only in Europe, but in Japan as well.

"Watch on the Rhine" was a play produced on Broadway eight months before the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese. In it Ms. Hellman was heralding America's entrance in World War II. The adaptation is credited to Ms. Hellman and Dashiell Hammett, her long time companion. As directed for the screen by Herman Shumlin, the film was well received when it premiered in 1943.

We are introduced to the Muller family, when the film opens. They are crossing the border to the United States from Mexico. They are to continue toward Mrs. Muller's home in Washington, D.C., where her mother, Fanny Farrelly, is a minor celebrity hostess. The Mullers, we realize are fleeing Europe because of the persecution there against the opponents of the advancing totalitarian regime in Germany. In fact, we thought, in a way, the Mullers could have been better justified if they were Jewish, fleeing from a sure extermination.

We find out that Mr. Muller has had a terrible time in his native land, as well as in other places because his outspokenness in denouncing Fascim. Little does he know that he is coming to his mother-in-law's house that is housing one of the worst exponents of that philosophy.

The film offers excellent acting all around. It is a curiosity piece because of Bette Davis' supporting role. Paul Lukas, repeating his Broadway role, is quite convincing as Kurt Muller, the upright man that wants to make a better world for himself and his family. Mr. Lukas does a great job portraying Kurt Muller, repeating the role that made him a stage luminary on Broadway.

The other best performance is by Lucile Watson, who plays Fanny Farrelly, the matriarch of this family. Geraldine Fitzgerald is seen as Marthe de Brancovis, a guest of the Farrellys, married to the contemptible Teck de Brancovis, a Nazi sympathizer, played by George Coulouris. Beulah Bondi, Donald Woods, and the rest of the supporting cast give good performances guided by Mr. Shumlin.

The film should serve as a reminder about the evils of totalitarian rule, no matter where.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

27 August 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Watch on the Rhine 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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