49th Parallel (1941) DVD
49th Parallel (1941)
Director: Michael Powell
Writers: Emeric Pressburger (original story and screenplay), Rodney Ackland (scenario)
Stars: Richard George, Eric Portman, Laurence Olivier
49th Parallel is a British wartime entreaty for Empire solidarity, concentrating on rousing the patriotic fervor of the citizens of Canada. A group of Nazi naval officers and crewmen are stranded on Canadian soil (we have no sympathy for the castaways, inasmuch as we have just seen them refusing food and water to a group of torpedoed British seamen). Led by lieutenant Eric Portman, the Nazis try to stir up sympathy amongst the Canadians, beginning with apolitical Quebeckian trapper Laurence Olivier. Failing to convert Olivier--even by force--the Germans move on to a Hutterite farming community, where again they are unsuccessful in winning adherents (though, conversely, German seaman Niall Mac Ginnis defects to the other side). They then cross the path of professorial author Leslie Howard, who is living amongst the Indians to soak up "local color". Even Howard proves too formidable for the Nazis, and by film's end the surviving invaders are hiding out in a train, where they are discovered and captured by AWOL Canadian soldier Raymond Massey. Most TV viewers know 49th Parallel under its alternate title, The Invaders.