49th Parallel (The Invaders) (1941)
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as Kommandant Bernsdorff
as Lieutenant Hirth
as Lieutenant Kuhnecke
as Philip Armstrong Scott
as Andy Brock
as U.S. Customs Officer
as George the Indian
as U.S. Customs Officer
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Critic Reviews for 49th Parallel (The Invaders)
Michael Powell is to be congratulated on his persistence with this at first apparently ill-starred film. It is an admirable piece of work from every point of view and credit should be given to everyone connected with the finished product.
The major asset of Michael Powell's expectedly propagandistic British film, which was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (under the title The Invaders) is its accomplished ensemble, including Olivier and Eric Porter.
Musty propaganda. This one didn't age that well.
While it might not seem so on the surface to those weaned on Why We Fight and, conversely, The Eternal Jew, 49th Parallel is wholly valid as propaganda.
Audience Reviews for 49th Parallel (The Invaders)
I know this film was meant to rally the US to take action in the war effort, but 49th Parallel is a propaganda film whose polemics would make Eisenstein blush. Plus, Olivier doesn't just chew the scenery, he swallows it whole.
sure it's wartime propaganda but it's stylishly done and wonderful fun. we'd expect nothing less from the archers. a stranded u-boat crew tries to make their way to safety across canada after losing their vessel in hudson bay. anton walbrook and leslie howard are standouts in a cast of great character actors. olivier almost spoils it with a horrible french accent in early scenes but don't let it put u off the film; he won't be around for long. the canadian backdrop is a refreshing change from other WW2 era films.
I have a real soft spot for The 49th Parallel. It's certainly not held up by many as the best of Powell and Pressburger but it's one of those films I find myself drawn to again and again - P&P's warm and involving characterisation, the landscapes of Canada, Vaughn Williams' evocative score (given its due reverence as an 'honorary' character in the title sequence) are all scrumptious trimmings to a thoroughly exciting story. Along with Hitchcock's WWII propaganda films 'Lifeboat' and 'Foreign Correspondent' and Cavalcanti's 'Went the Day Well?', it is the very best of its type - a call to arms that also happens to be cracking good cinema. The cast list reads like a roll-call of all the great (mostly) British character actors of the day and, excepting the misfire of Olivier's phony accent, no-one puts a foot wrong. And how marvelous that Powell & Pressburger made such a successful piece of anti-Nazi propaganda and still managed to sneak in not just one of their trademark 'good' Germans but two - Anton Walbrook as Peter, the 'leader' of the (German!) Hutterite commune [his blistering speech is deeply moving and is certainly the heart of the film's message] and Niall McGinnis as Vogal, the German soldier who finds his conscience just a little too late - his demise being the quiet tragedy of a man who wanted a return to a simple life baking bread, instead of being an unthinking killer!
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