49th Parallel (The Invaders) (1941) - Rotten Tomatoes

49th Parallel (The Invaders) (1941)

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Movie Info

49th Parallel is a British wartime entreaty for Empire solidarity, concentrating on rousing the patriotic fervor of the citizens of Canada. A group of Nazi naval officers and crewmen are stranded on Canadian soil (we have no sympathy for the castaways, inasmuch as we have just seen them refusing food and water to a group of torpedoed British seamen). Led by lieutenant Eric Portman, the Nazis try to stir up sympathy amongst the Canadians, beginning with apolitical Quebeckian trapper Laurence Olivier. Failing to convert Olivier--even by force--the Germans move on to a Hutterite farming community, where again they are unsuccessful in winning adherents (though, conversely, German seaman Niall Mac Ginnis defects to the other side). They then cross the path of professorial author Leslie Howard, who is living amongst the Indians to soak up "local color". Even Howard proves too formidable for the Nazis, and by film's end the surviving invaders are hiding out in a train, where they are discovered and captured by AWOL Canadian soldier Raymond Massey. Most TV viewers know 49th Parallel under its alternate title, The Invaders. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:

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Cast

Richard George
as Kommandant Bernsdorff
Eric Portman
as Lieutenant Hirth
Raymond Lovell
as Lieutenant Kuhnecke
Peter Moore
as Kranz
Leslie Howard
as Philip Armstrong Scott
Raymond Massey
as Andy Brock
Finlay Currie
as Factor
Ley On
as Nick
Charles Victor
as Andreas
John Chandos
as Lohrmann
Basil Appleby
as Jahner
Theodore Salt
as U.S. Customs Officer
Tawera Moana
as George the Indian
O.W. Fonger
as U.S. Customs Officer
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Critic Reviews for 49th Parallel (The Invaders)

All Critics (8)

The oddest of wartime recruiters, a masterwork of wily drollery

Full Review… | February 6, 2010
CinePassion

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.

Full Review… | August 8, 2007
EmanuelLevy.Com

Musty propaganda. This one didn't age that well.

February 27, 2007
Film Threat

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.

Full Review… | February 18, 2007
Slant Magazine

Syrupy political sentiments aside, 49th Parallel is still a worth a look as a niftily crafted action-adventure of the period.

December 27, 2006
Filmcritic.com

[Humanizing the Nazis is] an extremely effective technique, and it makes for an extremely effective film.

Full Review… | September 10, 2005
Goatdog's Movies

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.

Jonathan Hutchings
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

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.

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

½

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!

William Sleet
William Sleet

Super Reviewer

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