Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Year Released: 1931
Chaos ensues at the Thibault Mine situated on the border of France and Germany where there's an explosion and a fire and thousands of French workers are trapped inside and German miners assemble rescue teams to lend assistance (after some initial hesitancy). This is based on a true story (1906's Courrières mine disaster), but Pabst was using the medium to try to reinforce friendship between two adjoining countries, considering that by 1931 it was already thirteen years since the end of World War I and Europe needed some serious bonding. The set design is utterly remarkable and the imagery is stark: the camera slides down the tunnels smoothly and the sense of claustrophobia is intense ... it's just a shame there's some footage missing from the available print. The workers wish each other well with the greeting "Glück Auf" ... but in just a short while the Third Reich would be known for a significantly more ominous one.