Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Mortal Storm

It's about this time of year that the Mrs. and I go into a winter cocoon mode and watch even more old movies than usual.

Last night, I put on the perennial favorite "The Mortal Storm". It stars Margaret Sullivan, Jimmy Stewart, Robert Young and Frank Morgan (the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz among many other roles).

It's a terrific, intelligent movie put out in 1940 during the anti-Nazi period of movie-making. Unlike many of the ra-ra movies of the time," The Mortal Storm" realistically examines the slow creeping of fascism into the lives of ordinary Germans who live in southern Germany. The central characters are a blended family with Frank Morgan playing a Jewish intellectual (although interestingly he's never actually identified as "Jewish" in the movie) who is married to a non-Jewish woman (Irene Rich). The woman has two near-adult boys from a previous marriage, and the couple have two children together.

"The Mortal Storm" is as timely today as it was then. The slow disintegration of this family and Germany as Germans polarize, and as Nazi's gain control, is fasinating to watch. Of course, there's the Hollywood love stories and melodrama to keep it interesting. But you're are left with a depth of despair by watching these ordinary citizens struggle with the realities of fascism.

If you haven't seen The Mortal Storm, go rent it. It's a quality winter movie for we political junkies.


At 12:01 PM, Blogger Ms. Jan said...

And while you're at it, get "The Shop Around the Corner," also starring Margaret Sullavan, Jimmy Stewart and Frank Morgan. This movie was the inspiration for "You've Got Mail," which, IMO doesn't even come close. Not...Even....Close.

At 5:04 AM, Blogger Lynne said...

Thanks for the recommendations. Winter is old movie mode for me too and we are always looking for good films that we can all three (Mom, Aunt and me) would enjoy.


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