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Watch on the Rhine (1943)


Watch on the Rhine is a 1940s propaganda film.  You can spin it anyway you like, drama, Bette Davis film, patriotic but in the end its still propaganda to raise spirits during a hard time.

Kurt and Sara Muller along with their three children visit Sara's family who believe she married beneath her class.  The Mullers, having lived a secretive and poorly lifestyle remain mum on Kurt's position.  After a family member cannot keep his nose and eyes to himself discovers that Kurt is working underground in anti-fascist activates.  After learning that a fellow comrade (who once saved Kurt) has been captured Kurt feels it his duty to help his friend and prepares to set out for Germany despite the risk of his own life.  Teck de Brancovis, a  house guest, bribes the family threatening to tell the authorities unless  he is given $10,000 -- their life savings.  Therefore, Muller does the only thing he feels he can do to protect his family, murders the snitch and flees for his life.

The ending had me choked up with Bette Davis excepting her eldest son following in his father's footsteps even though she would have preferred him safe at home.  Sara knew it would be selfish on her part and let him go willing when the time was right.  It was a very tender moment.  Also, I thought the steady build-up to Kurt's position was very well executed even though I thought I had an idea considering the subject matter at hand.    Even so, at times I felt that it was almost too much propaganda but that was the style at the time -- very patriotic.  Overall, Watch on the Rhine was an interesting watch (pun intended) and would certainly recommend it to any Bette Davis or classic movies fan.


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