Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Mortal Storm

The Mortal Storm is a 1940 anti-Nazi film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Robert Young, Frank Morgan, Robert Stack, Maria Ouspenskaya, and Ward Bond. The ugliness displayed in this film is not gone. There seem to be plenty who condemn others based on accidents of birth or on religious beliefs. People will not learn.

Voiceover at the beginning of the film:
When man was new upon the earth, he was frightened by the dangers of the elements. He cried out: 'The gods of the lightning are angry, and I must kill my fellow man to appease them.' As man grew older, he created shelters against the wind and the rain, and made harmless the force of the lightning. But within man himself were elements strong as the wind and terrible as the lightning. And he denied the existence of these elements because he dared not face them. The tale we are about to tell is of the mortal storm in which man finds himself today. Again he is crying, 'I must kill my fellow man!' Our story asks, how soon will man find wisdom in his heart, and build a lasting shelter against his ignorant fears?

Here's the first 6 minutes:

via Daily Motion:

The Huffington post says, "It stars James Stewart as a German who refuses to join the rest of his small Bavarian town in supporting Nazism. He falls in love with "non-Aryan" Freya Roth (Margaret Sullavan). Freya and her family are implied to be Jewish but the word "Jew" is never used". Senses of Cinema says, "The Mortal Storm... provides not only a direct refutation of Nazism, but also a call for American action – in advance of Washington."

Slant Magazine gives it 4 stars. TCM has information. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

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