Mortal Storm

Mortal Storm

Director: Frank Borzage

Cast: Frank Borzage, Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Robert Young

     
 

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The Nazi Party's rise to power has disastrous consequences for a German family in this drama. Victor Roth (Frank Morgan) is a college professor teaching in Germany in 1933 who leads a peaceful and contented life with his wife Emelie (Irene Rich), son Rudi (Gene Reynolds), daughter Freya (Margaret Sullavan), and stepsons Otto (Robert Stack) and Erich (William T. Orr).… See more details below

Overview

The Nazi Party's rise to power has disastrous consequences for a German family in this drama. Victor Roth (Frank Morgan) is a college professor teaching in Germany in 1933 who leads a peaceful and contented life with his wife Emelie (Irene Rich), son Rudi (Gene Reynolds), daughter Freya (Margaret Sullavan), and stepsons Otto (Robert Stack) and Erich (William T. Orr). However, Adolph Hitler's emergence as Germany's ruler has an unexpected impact on their lives. Fritz (Robert Young) and Martin (James Stewart) both vie for Freya's hand in marriage, but anti-Nazi activist Martin is forced to flee to Austria, while Freya is disturbed by Fritz's membership in a pro-fascist group. Victor repudiates Hitler's theories about Aryan superiority in class, and he not only loses his teaching position, but he is sentenced to a concentration camp. And while Emelie and Rudi join Freya as she tries to escape to Martin's new home in Austria, they find themselves hunted by Otto and Erich, now members of the Hitler Youth. The Mortal Storm was perhaps the most explicitly anti-Nazi film made in Hollywood prior to America's entry into WWII, and it resulted in all of MGM's product being banned in Germany.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Mortal Storm is admittedly propaganda, but it's intensely powerful propaganda and thus results in a film that is hard to forget. Storm's faults are obvious; it is at times blatantly manipulative, it paints some of its characters in strict black or white terms, and it occasionally goes over the top in its emotional reaches, and in so doing turns maudlin. Yet the force of the film is such that none of this matters very much. Credit is certainly due to director Frank Borzage, who turns in some of his most committed and visually pleasing work here. Borzage seems to have fallen in love with his dolly while making Storm, and the camera moves back and forth and in and out with a remarkable fluidity. His hand is especially evident in the last few minutes of the film, when he mixes visual and aural clues to create heightened emotions quite effectively. The director is also blessed with an exceptional cast, with James Stewart dependably solid and symbolically good without becoming a stereotype, and Margaret Sullavan near perfect. The supporting cast is uniformly good, with special praise for Robert Stack's enormously effective Otto. Chilling and compelling, The Mortal Storm retains its impact even after the passage of many decades.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/20/2009
UPC:
0883316213025
Original Release:
1940
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:40:00
Sales rank:
18,389

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Margaret Sullavan Freya Roth
James Stewart Martin Breitner
Robert Young Fritz Marberg
Frank Morgan Professor Victor Roth
Robert Stack Otto von Rohn
Bonita Granville Elsa
Irene Rich Mrs. Victor Roth
Maria Ouspenskaya Mrs. Breitner
William Orr Erich von Rohn
Gene Reynolds Rudi
Russell Hicks Rector
William Edmunds Lehman
Esther Dale Marta
Dan Dailey Holl
Granville Bates Prof. Berg
Thomas W. Ross Professor Werner
Ward Bond Franz
Sue Moore Theresa
Harry Depp 2nd Colleague
Gus Glassmire Colleague
Robert O. Davis Hartman
Tom Drake Actor
Julius Tannen 3rd Colleague
Max Davidson Old Man
Dick Elliott Passport Official
William Irving Waiter
Fritz Leiber Oppenheim
Ted Oliver Guard
Lucien Prival Passport Official
Dick Rich Guard
Bert Roach Fat Man in Cafe
John Stark Gestapo Official
Bob Stevenson Gestapo Guard
Henry Victor Gestapo Official
Howard Lang Man

Technical Credits
Frank Borzage Director,Producer
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
Lew Borzage Asst. Director
William H. Daniels Cinematographer
Jack Dawn Makeup
Sidney Franklin Producer
George Froeschel Screenwriter
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Wade B. Rubottom Art Director
Victor Saville Producer
Douglas Shearer Sound/Sound Designer
Gile Steele Costumes/Costume Designer
Elmo Vernon Editor
Claudine West Screenwriter
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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