"The Mortal Storm" Is Released
The Mortal Storm is a 1940 film that was one of the most direct anti-Nazi Hollywood films released before the American entry into the Second World War.
It stars James Stewart as a German who refuses to join the rest of his small Bavarian town in supporting Nazism. He falls in love with "non-Aryan" Freya Roth (Margaret Sullavan), the daughter of a Junker mother and a "non-Aryan" father.
The Nazi Party's rise to power has disastrous consequences for a German family in this drama. Victor Roth (Frank Morgan) is a college professor teaching in Germany in 1933 who leads a peaceful and contented life with his wife Emelie (Irene Rich), son Rudi (Gene Reynolds), daughter Freya (Margaret Sullavan), and stepsons Otto (Robert Stack) and Erich (William T. Orr). However, Adolph Hitler's emergence as Germany's ruler has an unexpected impact on their lives. Fritz (Robert Young) and Martin (James Stewart) both vie for Freya's hand in marriage, but anti-Nazi activist Martin is forced to flee to Austria, while Freya is disturbed by Fritz's membership in a pro-fascist group. Victor repudiates Hitler's theories about Aryan superiority in class, and he not only loses his teaching position, but he is sentenced to a concentration camp. And while Emelie and Rudi join Freya as she tries to escape to Martin's new home in Austria, they find themselves hunted by Otto and Erich, now members of the Hitler Youth. The Mortal Storm was perhaps the most explicitly anti-Nazi film made in Hollywood prior to America's entry into WWII, and it resulted in all of MGM's product being banned in Germany. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide