49th Parallel Review

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Early World War II film, produced before the Americans were in the war. A German U-Boat is sunk of the coast of Canada during WWII. The captain knows that he must make it across the border to the still-neutral USA, if he is to avoid capture. But the crew encounter a number of people keen to thwart their progress.


No one made a greater variety of unusual and important movies about World War II than Powell and Pressburger, and this combination of propaganda and suspense is one of the most affecting. Early in the war, a German submarine is sunk off the coast of Canada, and the fanatical Nazi commander (Portman) tries to lead his crew across the border to neutral America.

he German group are whittled down, encountering a series of characters who represent the allies: Howard perfectly encapsulates the diffident but indomitable Englishman, Olivier is a moustachioed French trapper and Raymond Massey delivers a coup de grace as an American G.I. who's obviously keen on getting into the fight early.

Despite its use as propaganda, 49th Parallel is one of the more engrossing, exciting war thrillers of its time.