(Michael Powell, UK, 1941) 123 minutes


Director: Michael Powell
Producer: Michael Powell
Screenplay: Emeric Pressburger
Art Direction: David Rawnsley
Photography: Freddie Young
Editor: David Lean
Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conducted by: Muir Mathieson
Leslie Howard (Philip Armstrong Scott)
Laurence Olivier (Johnnie)
Eric Portman (Lieutanant Hirth)
Raymond Massey (Andy Brock)
Glynis Johns (Anna)
Richard George (Captain Bernsdorff)
Anton Walbrook (Peter)

Reviews and notes

The most important [British] film produced in the period before Pearl Harbour and the American entry into the was was Michael Powell's 49TH PARALLEL, which was made with Governmant money. The Ministry of Information had earmarked half a million pounds for the production of helpful feature films. Some 60,000 pounds of the fund was put up for this film, which in the end turned out to be the only one made under this arrangement. In fact 49TH PARALLEL cost twice as much to make and was bailed out by J Arthur Rank while the Ministry, its fingers burnt, quietly dropped the scheme...

Much of the film was made in Canada and part of the reason for its delayed completion was due to the fact that Elisabeth Bergner refused to return to Britain for studio shooting. Consequently, her part had to be reshot with Glynis Johns. For all its production difficulties, 49TH PARALLEL was a thoughtful and intelligent picture and greatly enhanced the prestige of the British film as well as bringing a major Commonwealth country into the foreground.
-George Perry, The Great British Picture Show, Hart-Davis MacGibbon, 1974.

Weblink: Fuller cast details, plot details and comment

Back to screening list

Home Page | Schedule | Membership