49th Parallel (The Invaders) Reviews
January 9, 2015
great propaganda film.
May 4, 2010
Forgettable war movie. good but not something you will think about later
July 13, 2014
An early one from Powell and Pressburger that is a masterwork in sympathetic propaganda. And when I say sympathetic I mean to say that they choose not to totally villainize all Germans but instead choose to make one or two human. In fact, it is the German band of submariners who escape when their U-boat is destroyed in Hudson Bay, Canada, who we follow through the film as they escape across Canada. A lot of British stars waived part of their fees for the war effort to appear: Laurence Olivier as a French Canadian trapper (!), Anton Walbrook as the leader of a German Hudderite settlement, Raymond Massey as an AWOL Canadian soldier, and Leslie Howard as a British expert on Native Americans camping in the Rockies. Eric Portman plays the dastardly leader of the Nazi group to evil effect but not without some humanity given his plight. Powell knows that propaganda should only work (on the intelligent) to the extent that it feels realistic and like it speaks the truth rather than demonizing and over-doing it. Message aside, one can already see Michael Powell's genius as a director with montage, fades, efficient use of screen time, and nearly surreal moments of beauty shining through.
May 26, 2014
Monday, May 26, 2014
(1941) 49th Parallel
SUSPENSE THRILLER/ ADVENTURE/ ESPIONAGE/ WAR
Frustrating movie which much of the suspense centers on the 8 Nazis capture with small parts from Leslie Howard and Lawrence Olivier.
Takes place during WWII, after a German submarine U-boat was located in the Hudson Bay, Canada it then gets shot down from a Canadian war plane causing many to die. However, 8 German soldiers managed to escape, including the lieutenant calling himself Hirth, played by Eric Portman. And it is during then, they start to exploit Canadian hospitality life by pretending to be civil whenever they want only until it has met there ulterior motives and assume they have the right to take a life whenever they want, as their main objective was to escape to the American border. This set up almost reminds me about what a terrorist would do, and as a result I can only watch the first half, and finally was able to finish watching it after at least a half year later since it's a rather aggravating watch which depicts some Canadian citizens as gullible and na´ve with no sense of danger who only attack only after they're attacked first. It's obvious, the movie's trying to sensationalize the Nazis point-of-view with Canada's or any other First world country with sane views, and that can be annoying since it drags the film as a whole.
2 out of 4 stars
May 10, 2014
Complete propaganda bullshit, and a complete insult to Canadians.
November 17, 2013
A brilliant and effective wartime propaganda effort from Powell and Pressburger that manages to enliven prosaic Nazi stereotypes with good character performances, in particular from Eric Portman as the Nazi Lieutenant and Niall McGinnis as the reluctant Nazi who wants to go back to his pre-war job as a baker. There are some tremendous appearances from actors including Leslie Howard, Raymond Massey - who provides a wonderful last line for the film - Anton Walbrook who gives a moving and sincere speech against Nazism, Glynis Johns, only let down by Laurence Olivier with a terrible French accent.
July 25, 2013
Not only is this film an adventure but it has the villains as the main characters. This is an interesting and uncommon plot, which can be entertaining when pulled off right. Now this was a propoganda film, sort of, so politics are mentioned, but the truth is that if you replace the Nazis with any other kind of imperialist douches and it would still fit. There is also alot of unpredictable moments, like you don't know when the Nazis start assassinating people or just try to sneak away unnoticed. There are also dozens of colorful minor characters- the Anthropologist doesn't give a crap, Brock is thuggish and heroric, the Hutterites are humble but know when to stand up for themselves. Also even though most of the Nazis are typical Nazis, some show obviously different personalities- which threaten their mission and shapes the plot. Overall a great WW2 film. Though, not to be racist or anything- and this isn't a bad thing really, but I don't know why there are so many native-american scenes in here.
July 18, 2007
Suspenseful road movie. Interesting look at Canadian country-sides and villagers. Character study of marooned German U-boat soldiers trying to blend in till they can make their way to the safe US border (takes place before the US entered World War II). Powell and Pressburger were not shy about admitting this was a propaganda film, but it is a good fictional propaganda film that focuses on character and story. Also check out the caliber of talent on the crew: Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote the score, Freddie Young manned the camera, and David Lean cut it together.
July 5, 2013
Full of Awkward political references.
June 13, 2013
this is not a very entertaining movie. it is good in spots, but seems dated and over acted throughout.
April 8, 2012
Fantastic WW II era thriller.
September 3, 2012
British WWII propaganda film has six Nazis fleeing across Canada after their U-Boat is bombed on the Hudson Bay. Incorporates a strong message to the USA about neutrality. Dedicated to the Dominion of Canada and really spans the country's landscape and people (although largely stereotyped characters). Failed attemps to illicit sympathy to the Nazi cause should have suggested an alternate course by the fugitives.
August 28, 2012
49th Parallel may not have aged well to some, but it is good to its word and delivers on some surprising suspense. The taste of adventure is also kind of nice.
August 7, 2012
The version I saw of TCM was the most disjointed, nearly incoherent movie I've ever seen. For a long period in the film the Krauts are moving West to get to Vancouver then suddenly they are moving East to Ontario and trying to cross at Niagara Falls. They hijack a car; next scene they are on a train; next scene they are walking...
August 2, 2012
The negative power of blind hatred by the Nazi leader was astounding. He simply did not allow himself to be open to the beauty surrounding him, nor the humans dwelling in their elements (the Canadians). I was especially amused at their reaction to the communitarian lifestyle of the Hutterites and their rejection of his fascist ideology and appeal to their German blood. An excellent lesson on the inhumanity of political extremism, especially fascism.
July 12, 2012
Mediocre. Could have been very interesting, if told in a balanced way, but, unfortunately, this was made in 1941, so is really just a WW2 propaganda film. Filled with dramatic Shakespeare-wannabe speeches, and pretentious gestures, all of which are there to make the Germans out to be totally evil.
Most irritating performance and character goes to Leslie Howard (who gets top billing over Laurence Olivier). Pretentious in the extreme. Olivier has a few speeches himself - the Shakespearean training comes in handy.
Not all bad. The survival-adventure element (which I was hoping was going to be the only element) is entertaining.
May 28, 2012
An early Powell & Pressburger production features the story of six Nazi soldiers stranded in Canada after their sub is bombed. The unit makes its way toward freedom, but they find they've underestimated the opposition. Interestingly, this anti-isolationist propaganda manages to keep the Nazis front and center (and the story compelling) without generating sympathy for them. Lightheartedness is present in Pressburger & Ackland's script, but balanced with the very real threat the fugitives represent. Laurence Olivier makes for a cartoonish but entertaining trapper, and the rest of the cast bring in sharp, emotional performances.
May 27, 2012
Pretty good WWII propaganda film suffers, somewhat, from being a bit too long!!
April 6, 2012
I thought this strange that the Germans were played by English actors, and they didn't even attempt a slight Herr Flick accent, but once you come to terms with that peculiarity, the rest of the film is pretty entertaining. Laurence Olivier makes a decent attempt at playing a French Canadian, funny/irritating though his character is. There's plenty of Canadian scenery, complete with esquimaux and indians. The propaganda is laid on with a trowel towards the end, but it's never boring for a moment and is often quite exciting. 7.5/10