The Mortal Storm

Tuesday, May 7
Share this
1hr 40mins // directed by:Frank Borzage // featuring:Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Robert Young // 35mm

Opening Night of The National Center for Jewish Film's Annual Film Festival. New 35mm restoration! Q&A with Brandeis University Professor Thomas Doherty, author of Hollywood & Hitler.

Starring the incomparable team of Margaret Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart and released in June 1940 before America’s official entry into World War II, The Mortal Storm was MGM’s first anti-Nazi film, and one of only two films made in Hollywood during the war that explicitly identifies Jews as victims of Nazism–the other film, None Shall Escape, was shown at last year’s NCJF festival. The Nazis’ rise to power splits a family apart in this melodrama set in Germany in 1933. A Jewish professor (Frank Morgan) refuses to conform his teaching to Nazi doctrine and pays the price. His daughter Freya (Sullavan) leaves her fiancée (Robert Young), who is becoming a dedicated Fascist, for her childhood friend Martin (Stewart), a defiant anti-Nazi, with whom she attempts escape. Directed by 2-time Best Director Oscar-winning director Frank Borzage and written by two refugees from Nazi Germany, George Froeschel (a Jewish, former newspaper editor) and Paul Hans Rameau (a well-known scriptwriter, persecuted for being gay). Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive.