The Mortal Storm Reviews

  • Jan 19, 2020

    With arresting cinematography, an epic, very cinematic third act and a terrific, deceptively happy beginning that fools you into thinking that this is going to be a joyous movie, The Mortal Storm quickly pulls the rug beneath you and becomes a frustrating, difficult and eventually heartbreaking story of the atrocious movement that was happening in Germany just as this film was being filmed, and thus it becomes a very powerful, tragic time capsule. Margaret Sullavan is excellent in such a great role whereas James Stewart is expectedly terrific as a heroic moral center. As a result, although rarely thought of as such by many, The Mortal Storm is in my opinion one of the greatest WWII films of all time.

    With arresting cinematography, an epic, very cinematic third act and a terrific, deceptively happy beginning that fools you into thinking that this is going to be a joyous movie, The Mortal Storm quickly pulls the rug beneath you and becomes a frustrating, difficult and eventually heartbreaking story of the atrocious movement that was happening in Germany just as this film was being filmed, and thus it becomes a very powerful, tragic time capsule. Margaret Sullavan is excellent in such a great role whereas James Stewart is expectedly terrific as a heroic moral center. As a result, although rarely thought of as such by many, The Mortal Storm is in my opinion one of the greatest WWII films of all time.

  • Aug 09, 2019

    The Roth family leads a quiet life in a small village in the German Alps during the early 1930s. When the Nazis come to power, the family is divided and Martin Brietner, a family friend is caught up in the turmoil. This movie is an absolutley wonderful...dramatic and very intense storyline, played out beautifully by Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan. The plot and especially the ending is so captivating and real. I mean, you stop noticing that these are actors and you begin to live out the story. It's just a well-done and deeply moving film.

    The Roth family leads a quiet life in a small village in the German Alps during the early 1930s. When the Nazis come to power, the family is divided and Martin Brietner, a family friend is caught up in the turmoil. This movie is an absolutley wonderful...dramatic and very intense storyline, played out beautifully by Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan. The plot and especially the ending is so captivating and real. I mean, you stop noticing that these are actors and you begin to live out the story. It's just a well-done and deeply moving film.

  • Mar 21, 2018

    A 1940 anti-fascist movie adaptation of the Phyllis Bottome book, publishing in early 1938. A very happy family in Munich, 1933 becomes very unhappy as Hitler takes over. As Nazi-ism overtakes public and private spaces, conflict ensues. Great ski chase scenes will remind you of James Bond. Ian Fleming was a student of Phyllis Bottome.

    A 1940 anti-fascist movie adaptation of the Phyllis Bottome book, publishing in early 1938. A very happy family in Munich, 1933 becomes very unhappy as Hitler takes over. As Nazi-ism overtakes public and private spaces, conflict ensues. Great ski chase scenes will remind you of James Bond. Ian Fleming was a student of Phyllis Bottome.

  • Nov 19, 2016

    Shows that not all Germans supported the Nazi party. 1001 movies to see before you die.

    Shows that not all Germans supported the Nazi party. 1001 movies to see before you die.

  • Jan 09, 2016

    Perhaps this film is all the more unsettling because, despite its blistering attack on the authoritarianism of Hitler's government, no one in Hollywood could yet know the magnitude of the evil being enacted and/or contemplated in Nazi Germany at that point. Now 75 years later, at a "safe" distance, a viewer is forced to contemplate "could it happen again?" It does seem unlikely...but politicians who espouse keeping Muslims out of their countries or locking refugees up in detention centres for unspecified periods of time seem to be moving us closer to that alternate reality. But back in 1940, Jimmy Stewart is prepared to stand up to the other young people who have fallen in with Hitler (including Roberts Young and Stack), because he wants to be free to think what he wants. He is in love with Margaret Sullavan who is the daughter of a famous (presumably Jewish) professor (played by Frank Morgan) who is arrested for teaching that the blood of people from all races is chemically and biologically identical. Although the Nazi sympathizers are portrayed extremely negatively, this is less a political treatise and more a story of thwarted romance, as Stewart's love for Sullavan is complicated when the authorities force him to flee the country but then prevent her from doing so. A daring escape becomes the only way out. If only they knew then that Austria would not be far enough away.

    Perhaps this film is all the more unsettling because, despite its blistering attack on the authoritarianism of Hitler's government, no one in Hollywood could yet know the magnitude of the evil being enacted and/or contemplated in Nazi Germany at that point. Now 75 years later, at a "safe" distance, a viewer is forced to contemplate "could it happen again?" It does seem unlikely...but politicians who espouse keeping Muslims out of their countries or locking refugees up in detention centres for unspecified periods of time seem to be moving us closer to that alternate reality. But back in 1940, Jimmy Stewart is prepared to stand up to the other young people who have fallen in with Hitler (including Roberts Young and Stack), because he wants to be free to think what he wants. He is in love with Margaret Sullavan who is the daughter of a famous (presumably Jewish) professor (played by Frank Morgan) who is arrested for teaching that the blood of people from all races is chemically and biologically identical. Although the Nazi sympathizers are portrayed extremely negatively, this is less a political treatise and more a story of thwarted romance, as Stewart's love for Sullavan is complicated when the authorities force him to flee the country but then prevent her from doing so. A daring escape becomes the only way out. If only they knew then that Austria would not be far enough away.

  • Dec 20, 2015

    First powerful anti-Nazi Hollywood film made a year before the US would enter into WWII. The cast includes the great James Stewart, and two future TV stars, Robert Young and Robert Stack. Sullavan's career in film began to decline after this. Vigorous in attacking fascist ideals, it is equally restrained in demonstrating the violence (almost always off camera). As many have noted, this film single handedly caused Hitler to ban all MGM films in Germany.

    First powerful anti-Nazi Hollywood film made a year before the US would enter into WWII. The cast includes the great James Stewart, and two future TV stars, Robert Young and Robert Stack. Sullavan's career in film began to decline after this. Vigorous in attacking fascist ideals, it is equally restrained in demonstrating the violence (almost always off camera). As many have noted, this film single handedly caused Hitler to ban all MGM films in Germany.

  • Dec 20, 2015

    Watched this last night on TCM. Great movie and a good reminder, don't let your freedom go.

    Watched this last night on TCM. Great movie and a good reminder, don't let your freedom go.

  • Dec 18, 2015

    A wonderful film that stands not only for freedom of thought against the Nazi Regime, but also for that same freedom against any totalitarian state. I really love that the hero is a pacifist. Although I have read criticisms of this movie as showing that the attitudes of the people changed too quickly and with too much violence, as a student of this period, I can say that the reaction of citizens here were, if anything, more moderate than actually took place in Nazi Germany.

    A wonderful film that stands not only for freedom of thought against the Nazi Regime, but also for that same freedom against any totalitarian state. I really love that the hero is a pacifist. Although I have read criticisms of this movie as showing that the attitudes of the people changed too quickly and with too much violence, as a student of this period, I can say that the reaction of citizens here were, if anything, more moderate than actually took place in Nazi Germany.

  • Nov 29, 2015

    Risky content for it's time. Superbly acted by a very strong cast. Was meant to awaken the US public to what was going on with the Nazis and how insidiously It started. Shows the naive majority and how hard it was to awaken them.

    Risky content for it's time. Superbly acted by a very strong cast. Was meant to awaken the US public to what was going on with the Nazis and how insidiously It started. Shows the naive majority and how hard it was to awaken them.

  • May 25, 2015

    Powerful anti-Nazism, anti-fascism drama. Follows the lives of a German family and their friends as Hitler comes to power in the 1930s, and the results of this change. Explores very directly the effects of Nazi rule, how freedoms are lost and the right to be different and think differently is destroyed. Shows very vividly the effect of group-think/mob-think and the cult of personality. Yes, it was made during World War 2, so is to some extent a propaganda movie. However, the themes explored can be applied to any fascist country. Can be compared to Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator", which was released in the same year. While Chaplin used satire and comedy to mock the Nazis, this movie is pure drama, and stands alongside The Great Dictator in exposing the evil that was Nazism.

    Powerful anti-Nazism, anti-fascism drama. Follows the lives of a German family and their friends as Hitler comes to power in the 1930s, and the results of this change. Explores very directly the effects of Nazi rule, how freedoms are lost and the right to be different and think differently is destroyed. Shows very vividly the effect of group-think/mob-think and the cult of personality. Yes, it was made during World War 2, so is to some extent a propaganda movie. However, the themes explored can be applied to any fascist country. Can be compared to Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator", which was released in the same year. While Chaplin used satire and comedy to mock the Nazis, this movie is pure drama, and stands alongside The Great Dictator in exposing the evil that was Nazism.