(Review originally written at 5 November 2008)

Two years before enlisting, Jimmy Stewart was already fighting against the Nazi-regime within this movie. Quite admirable that he actually joined the Air Force during WW II once you think about it. He was already in his 30's and extremely successful as an actor. He had already been nominated once- and had won an Oscar for best actor, prior to enlisting. So he could had easily 'ducked' out of from fighting in WW II, like basically all of Hollywood did and no one would had blamed him ever for it but it was obviously his own free will and well thought over choice to do so, though the fact that he comes from a true military family should also had to do something with it. He actually didn't got in at first when it turned out that he didn't weighted enough but he talked the recruitment officer into ignoring the test so he could join the Air Force. He actually made it to the rank of colonel during WW II. I can't think of any other actor that has ever reached such an high rank. What a remarkable and admirable brave man! He was both successful as an actor prior- and after WW II and also remained in the military as well for many years, until his retirement from it in 1968. At the point he had reached the rank of Brigadier General.

This movie is one of James Stewart lesser known movies and yes it also needs to be said that his acting had been better in some other movies but the script could be more blamed for this. For yes, the movie is definitely an American propaganda movie, that shows the evil and dangers of the Nazi-regime. It does this pretty well and striking though, considering this movie got made in 1940, when we didn't knew yet everything of what was going on in Nazi-regime, at the time of the rise of Hitler. This movie really wasn't far from the truth, with the exception of the obvious 'Hollywoodized' elements within it. But then again, this movie is of course a movie and not a documentary.

It shows how the rise of the Nazi-regime affects a random and regular family, living somewhere in the German Alps, in a quite little anonymous village. It makes the movie filled with some obvious dramatic elements and perhaps the movie is not the best written genre example, it still works out all well and effective enough.

Too bad that the movie doesn't really know to be consistent. Basically the movie begins very well and promising but in the end things are tending to get a bit more formulaic and 'Hollywoodized', which is a bit of a shame, for the movie otherwise is a great and really effective one with its themes and underlying messages.

Nevertheless one fine watchable early propaganda movie made during WW II, about the rise of the Nazi-regime and its effects on the common people.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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