Sunday, April 1, 2012

139. The Mortal Storm

The Mortal Storm
Directed by Frank Borzage


So my incredibly classy way of starting this post is due to the fact that I had the worst version of this film.  This movie is hard to find so I ended up buying a really cheap dvd of it on Amazon. There were no visible scratches on it, but it wouldn't stop skipping.  Now, I have seen every minute of this film but I had to keep going back and forward so many times that by the end I really had no idea what was going on.

It is highly doubtful that you will see this movie because it is so unavailable and in such poor condition.  However, just for the heck of it I will carry on with my review.  This movie is about Professor Roth and his family as they are destroyed by Nazi Germany.  This film is really interesting for the time.  The United States did not enter World War II until 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese (see?  This blog has everything, including obvious historical facts!).  However, it seemed that Americans (at least some) knew about the atrocities committed against mankind in 1940.  Kind of disgusting that we didn't get involved sooner, actually.

The love story is just kind of meh, but this is an interesting and historical film.  It seems that today every year some new World War II movie comes out; MGM was one of the very few studios that had the balls to do it while WWII was going on.  Pretty spectacular; too bad the quality sucks.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

All MGM films were banned in Germany by Adolf Hitler for having anti Nazi sentiments.

Other pro American intervention in the war movies include Foreign Correspondent, Man Hunt, and Sergeant York.

In other news, I have officially seen all of AFI's top 100 movies.  Pretty excited...



  1. I actually downloaded this movie and it was really good quality. I couldn't find a version to stream though.

    I enjoyed the film because I just finished a class on American film during WWII. I could appreciate how rare this type of film is. Usually the war films of the time are super anti-Japanese, and the Nazis were villains much later! It feels like this slipped through the cracks almost!

  2. Hi,
    Hello Rachel.. thanks for bringing an archive post of Amanda's to my attention as I quite liked this one myself.. but had, perhaps, expected a bit too much from it, and ended up being slightly dissapointed..

    Amanda, sorry, but I'm gong to challenge you on a point.. unless I'm mistaken, this is a Warner Bros film (not MGM). It was Warner Bros who very much led the way in Hollywood in producing anti-Nazi / pro intervention films in the early war years.. (I was a Nazi spy, Srgnt York, Watch on the Rhine etc etc).
    May I strongly recommend a book called 'Celluloid Heroes - Warner bros campaign against Nazism' that tells about it.

  3. Actually, this is MGM! It starts with the lion and everything :-)

    But you're right, Warner Brothers did made Casablanca and was seen as very interventionist. They even closed their offices in Germany so they could make as many anti-Nazi films as they wanted!

  4. Yeah this one is MGM but I know what you mean about Warner Bros. I will check that book out!

  5. I'm so sorry.. I stand corrected, and i apologise for trying to correct you from a wrong point..
    Surprised, but it is MGM.
    Most odd, doesn't FEEL at all MGM.. and I always see jimmy Stewart as Warner Bros. But wait.. further confusion is caused by.. the DVD case (including the one used as illustration on IMDb) carries the Warner Bros logo..
    I looked up on IMDb, and it lists as location MGM studio

    1. Nothing to apologize for! I think Warner Bros is a distributer for the home videos and DVDs but MGM produced it.

  6. I also managed to find a good version online (read: dodgy download). I have to agree though that except for the very early interventionist points I also found it rather meh. It is as if it does not want to follow through on its points.

  7. I downloaded, although couldn't find a version with crisp picture quality.

    It is a bit meh, as most things are when they're too busy trying too make a worthy point rather than a nuanced film. I'm often a bit uncomfortable with American attempts to dramatise the European aspects of the war and the Nazis (Inglorious Basterds, U-571, anything that makes D-Day look like the key turning point of the war) and this a little bit too. But it could have been worse. Not entirely certain what it's doing on the list though.