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Watch on the Rhine Reviews

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Super Reviewer

June 20, 2007
a cautionary tale about the insidiousness of evil and the danger of complacency
inhonoredglory
October 3, 2011
What a truly, truly rich, moving experience. I love those films made in the war years, as they mean so much and teach so much and have so much more depth and meaning. Watch on the Rhine is no exception. I can see why Bette Davis took the role "for its importance." It teaches so much to the American people of its time - and even now - how we don't really know what it means to be a European in an Old World so often used to the kinds of conflict that created World War II.
The movie also strikingly doesn't feel like propaganda, even though the message was clearly to move its audience into action (aren't all worthwhile films aimed at personal change?). It presented a very enlightening, moving perspective on both the German menace and the Underground protagonists. Muller (Paul Lukas) explains how we will one day feel pity for those Germans who just "follow orders" and are really just fools, like De Brancovis (George Coulouris). And the perspective that Muller and the Underground may indeed be like the evil they fight - to see Muller admit he was bad. Situations like this are not black and white.
After seeing this, my sister wanted to learn more about WWII, the Underground, and the Holocaust. Through it, she's had the experience I've had so long ago.
In that time, I see character, selflessness, and purpose greater than self. I love it so, and I am saddened by the blatant selfishness that defines today's society. Movies like this inspire me and make me see continually that ideals and convictions can be attained and are indeed beautiful.
January 19, 2010
The writing in this film (thanks to its novelist screenwriter) is surprisingly zesty and clever. The characters (save for some overacting children) seem real and it is easy to care for their plight. I wouldn't say the plot is entirely gripping and it bordered at times on pure propaganda. Bette Davis is the big name but she doesn't play an enormous part, merely fleshes out an excellent ensemble cast. Released in the same year as Casablanca, 1943 was obviously a dark year at the movies where the good vs evil cliche actually took on some realistic and topical meaning.
athena6098
October 28, 2008
Bette Davis's supporting performce. I happen to catch this movie on AMC channel that is from Lillian Hellman's play. I got all caught up in it. I love Bette Davis's performces. I like the way that it show that not all germans were part of Nazi party. It is relates to us today to show that not all Muslims are terrorists. The movie shows to duty to do the greater good. the struggle of good and evil. Movie show also how americans here did not really know what was happening over in Europe, especailly Germany, during the late 1930's.
mtoothman
July 20, 2007
Paul Lukas as an anti-Nazi resistance leader. Great movie based on the Lillian Hellman play. Bette Davis is remarkable.
March 1, 2014
By today's standards, this is a very "talky" film. But, with that said, it has a lot to "say" about politics and what was happeing in Europe at that time. If you are not a patient movie watcher then this movie is not for you, but, if you are patient and listen carefully to the dialogue and speeches made during the events as they unfold, the viewer will be rewarded with an intriguing story. My only complaint is the ending was wrapped up just a little too quickly....the entire cast turns in fine performances. Watch this only if you enjoy older films that are more cerebral.
Adrian B.
June 5, 2012
Okay war film in which a family, which includes husband and wife Paul Lukas and Bette Davis, respectively, of their return to the United States from Germany, in the early stages of World War II. When they return, the two conceal a secret that the husband is an agent who is on a spy mission in the USA. At once a very effective movie from the 1940's, this movie, which once again contains an Oscar winning performance (that being Paul Lukas), has lost its luster. It could have been a great drama, but instead it underwhelms because there is too much dialogue for the viewer to handle. It's unfortunate and a bit of a letdown to see stars, such as Davis, not be in a great movie and one that has not aged well. The performances and score are the virtues to "Watch on the Rhine."
EnglishCrumpet
August 10, 2011
It might be Bette Davis' name above the title but Watch on the Rhine is very much an ensemble piece. Elevated by several strong performances, the film is a rather worthy propaganda piece, with a message that sadly gets in the way of the drama. Though the film's theatrical qualities have been criticised--it's very wordy and sometimes feels a little phoney--the story itself is solid enough and told with great conviction. Likewise the characters are interesting, largely thanks to the actors portraying them; Davis is fine but far from her best, while Paul Lukas is great opposite her in his Oscar-winning turn. Overall a decent picture but very much a product of its time.
Dave J
June 1, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

(1943) Watch On The Rhine
DRAMA/ SOCIAL COMMENTARY

Based on a stage play written by Dashiell Hammett and put on screen about justification over eliminating Nazis war crimianls who escape, bringing their beliefs and their antisemitic activities overseas after WWII!

Well acted by cast which won the "Oscar for Best Actor" for Paul Lucas as Kurt out of 4 nominations but this film is very tame in todays standards, now that we have films like The Marathon Man! this movie is very preachy, outdated and talkative, which if a film were to be made like this toaday wouldn've work- it needs to push some boundaries!

2 out of 4 stars
March 21, 2011
Bette Davis gets star billing but is really a supporting character in this film which won Paul Lukas a Best Actor Oscar (beating out Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca no less). They play the Mullers, a family who has been wandering Europe for 8 years fighting against the Fascist juggernaut. They've come to Suburban Washington DC to visit Bette's family (she is an American married to a German). There are other guests as well and they aren't such characters of nobility. While so much of this political thriller is specific to it's time, the moral choices and dilemmas faced by the characters is still gripping and thought provoking. Lucille Watson, who played Mary Haines' mother in "The Women" sort of expands on that performance in a delightful turn as Bette's wealthy gabfest of a mother. I think Lukas probably won the Oscar more for the nature of the role and it's cultural relevance in 1943, than for his actual performance which struck me as merely serviceable.
Zeppo1
June 19, 2009
*** (out of four)

Classic Lillian Hellman play that is a bit dated, but still packs a decent emotional punch.

Paul Lukas and Bette Davis flee Europe as World War II progresses. He works in anti-fascist groups and it has been too dangerous to keep his wife and three children there. They move in with Davis' mother and brother in Washington D.C. where the family quickly learns that the enemies may be just as close as they were before.

The Best Actor Oscar went to Lukas in a very meaningful performance. He helps lift the film even when it becomes filled a bit with propaganda-like sentiment.
jazza923
January 22, 2009
Subtle and very moving, extremely well written and the cast is amazing, particularly Bette Davis, Lucile Watson and Paul Lukas. It's an unusual film for the time, expertly directed. Great score, a wonderful film throughout.
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