49th Parallel

Director: Michael Powell
Year Released: 1941
Rating: 2.0

After bombers hit their submarine, the Nazis who survived and rowed ashore find themselves stuck in Canada with no way of getting home. As WWII propaganda, it's hardly in short supply of big speeches and Significant Exchanges, showing the Germans bullying innocents when they have the free time. The decision to tell the story from the German standpoint is intriguing; without being sympathetic, it depicts the Nazis as delusional, flawed and (for the most part) human, which is a step up from most films with no shades of gray. The performances are all over the place - Leslie Howard and Anton Walbrook are the direct opposite of the bad guys, preaching purity and representing honor and courage (Howard, after his artwork and writings and a Thomas Mann novel - one of those good Germans! - are burned, walks face first into a stream of bullets) while Laurence Olivier gets killed just for his horribly funny imitation of a French Canadian ("Bom-bing? Bom-bing? Mon dieu!").