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      The Mortal Storm

      1940 1 hr. 40 min. Drama List
      100% 14 Reviews Tomatometer 85% 1,000+ Ratings Audience Score Professor Victor Roth (Frank Morgan) enjoys a tranquil life with his family in Germany. His daughter Freya (Margaret Sullavan) is courted both by Martin (James Stewart) and Fritz (Robert Young). However, when the Nazis take control of the country, all their lives are shaken. Martin must flee to Austria because of his political stance. Victor loses his job and is sent to a concentration camp when he speaks out against Hitler. Meanwhile, Fritz joins the Nazis and is obliged to hunt down Freya. Read More Read Less

      Audience Reviews

      View All (68) audience reviews
      Steve D Important but not really good. Stewart is wasted. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/13/24 Full Review Audience Member This movie is incredible, the acting, the story, the heart, all great. This is movie ages incredibly well and I down to earth think everybody should watch this movie, it teaches a great lesson of how innocent people can get corrupted over dictatorship and just corrupted leaders in general. Even if you're not a fan of old movies you should watch it, because one of these days we might have another Hitler (or at least something like him). Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review William L There are plenty of times where The Mortal Storm shows its age - in technical proficiency (some skiing scenes were very much not on location) and in filmmaking conventions, for instance (among this supposedly all-German character sheet, there are a confusing mix of accents, from heavily Teutonic to good ol' American Boy Scout). But the film compensates in its political stance, as an unabashedly anti-Nazi film released well before the United States became firmly involved in World War II, when the US was still ambiguous in its geopolitical leaning and, just a year before, the German American Bund had hung swastikas alongside portraits of George Washington before an audience of 20,000 at Madison Square Garden, promoting their fascism as "pro-Americanism". West's screenplay (ably adapted from Bottome's novel), focuses on the disintegration of a family based around the tenants of a rabid political mania, as young men eager to 'restore Germany to glory' quickly adopt party dogma as their own, enforcing unquestioning obedience, anti-intellectualism, and racial discrimination ("non-Aryan" is namedropped a few times, though it's not an overt focus) even to the extent of imparting mortal consequences upon those they once loved. There are depictions or implications of social control, book burnings, the removal of "offensive material" (regardless of its factuality), ethnic purity, the focus on a political 'other' as the root cause of all problems, and many other trends that have reemerged among far-right movements in the United States and abroad, only sharpening viewings of this film today. Performances are solid, but none are really standouts, though Sullavan in her primary focus (and as the result of multiple tragedies) feels empathetic. Shocking in 1940 for its willingness to depict ugliness in ideologies that some thought acceptable, and sadly relevant today for the same reason. (4/5) Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/16/21 Full Review david l 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. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member 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. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/14/23 Full Review Audience Member 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. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Critics Reviews

      View All (14) Critics Reviews
      Fred Camper Chicago Reader A far subtler director than most, Borzage nevertheless uses spatial separation to express moral opposition: good versus evil, us versus them. Jun 23, 2022 Full Review Nell Minow Movie Mom Rated: 4/5 Jul 30, 2004 Full Review Jaime N. Christley Slant Magazine Romance becomes the irritant and, effectively, Borzage positions his romanticism as a contribution to Hollywood's anti-fascist crusade. Rated: 4/4 Nov 14, 2003 Full Review Zita Short InSession Film As a pair, they can make the audience invest in the relationship between their characters as well as bringing even the most jaded moviegoer to tears, and it’s utterly magical. Feb 9, 2023 Full Review Keith Garlington Keith & the Movies A gutsy film with a much stronger message than people were accustomed to hearing. And even today the film stands strong as a testament to the persuasive power of the movies. Rated: 4/5 Aug 24, 2022 Full Review Danielle Solzman Solzy at the Movies The Mortal Storm shows the first-hand impact of the Nazi atrocities before things get really bad... May 30, 2021 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Professor Victor Roth (Frank Morgan) enjoys a tranquil life with his family in Germany. His daughter Freya (Margaret Sullavan) is courted both by Martin (James Stewart) and Fritz (Robert Young). However, when the Nazis take control of the country, all their lives are shaken. Martin must flee to Austria because of his political stance. Victor loses his job and is sent to a concentration camp when he speaks out against Hitler. Meanwhile, Fritz joins the Nazis and is obliged to hunt down Freya.
      Director
      Frank Borzage
      Production Co
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Genre
      Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Streaming)
      May 7, 2021