Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Mortal Storm (1940)

Grr! Evil Nazi Youth that want to beat up James Stewart! GRR!

Genre: Drama

Starring: James Stewart (Rope; It's A wonderful Life), Margaret Sullavan

Directed By: Frank Borzage

Overview: This story, set in a little German village, is about how Hitler's rise to power in 1933 tore a group of friends apart.

Acting: Man... 1940 and still showing signs of the old melodrama of the 20s. James Stewart does well, but his accent is so distinct that it's hard not to typecast but. I keep expecting him to eat Christmas turkey in the next scene. Either way, I'll blame the director. I had a couple issues, everyone was so... archetypical.
Rating: 6

Cinematography: The look of the village, the Nazi costumes, that huge house and the chalet, all nice to look at, but little things here and there, like having a film backdrop (like you'd use behind a moving car scene) while they're skiing ensured that this would get nothing more elevated than a standard 'professional'.
Rating: 7

Script: The writing was over the top as well. Yes, the Nazis were overly fanatical. Yes, a poor old scientist who can prove that blood knows no race is looked down upon, but propaganda line after anti-Hitler propaganda line went beyond the realm of "Wow, even Germans had issues with their Chancellor" to "Oh, right. Hollywood condemns the Nazis. There they go again. Fine. They're the enemy. I get it."
Rating: 5

Plot: The story is a little too strongly told. A scientist is having his birthday celebration, Hitler comes to power and within a couple of months, everything is different, people are getting beat up for having a different opinion, marriage plans are off, and the Hitler Youth are running the place. James and his girlfriend escape across the Alps, or do they get stopped? I didn't hate the movie that much to ruin the ending, but overall, not as classic as I was lead to believe.
Rating: 5

Mood: Ok, besides the fact that there was snow and mountains and authentic looking Hitler garb, the mood was grossly overshadowed by the American Perspective of "Hitler's bad, really!". Add things like the girl that has no hat or scarf when crossing the Alps in the dead of winter night, and you throw believability out the window. For me that was the last straw.
Rating: 4

If I stole my best friend's fiancee and he became a Nazi, I'd run for the hills too. I'm not proud!

Overall Rating: 54% (Nothing To Bluster About)

Aftertaste: Wow. I guess that's me defending Hitler's Germany, but if you ever do see this, you'll see how even back then, the American Media propaganda machine was working. It seemed a little far fetched to believe people getting so extremist all the way back in 1933. From everything that I read or saw, none of that heavy-handed beating of dissenters and the 'bad' Germany everyone knows about really took place till 1939-1940. A good indication? THE OLYMPICS. In 1936, Berlin hosted them. I looked it up a little. The Olympics don't take place in cities with questionable human rights practices. Well not till 2008 at least...