THE MORTAL STORM (1939) B/W 99m dir: Frank Borzage
w/Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Robert Young, Frank Morgan, Irene Rich, Robert Stack, Bonita Granville, Maria Ouspenskaya
From Variety's contemporary review of the film: "The Mortal Storm is a slugging indictment of the political and social theories advanced by Hitler, a combination of entertainment and democratic preachment, based on a novel of the same name by Phyllis Bottome.
"The locale is Germany, 1933, at the time when the paper-hanger gained control of the government. Through the lives of the members of the family of a university professor there is revealed the soul-crushing effect of Nazi regimentation. Sons turn from their parents, friends become deadly enemies, innocent elders are tossed into concentration camps.
"Because the action takes place in the early years of the Hitler regime, the ending of the story provides its most potent wallop. Hero and heroine plan a dangerous escape over a snowbound and unguarded frontier pass in the Austrian Alps.
"Performances are excellent. James Stewart is the courageous individualist who refuses to join the Nazi party, and Robert Young is the heavy. Frank Morgan draws a fine characterization of the non-Aryan professor. Irene Rich returns to films as mother of the unhappy family. Margaret Sullavan carries the romantic interest.
"Pictorially, the film is a panorama of beautiful mountain scenes and finely photographed interiors [by cinematographer William Daniels]."
THE MORTAL STORM, in addition to tackling a political subject, is also a touching romance. It was made by the most romantic director of classic Hollywood, Frank Borzage.