Mickey Prohaska is a small time insurance agent living in Wisconsin. He has grown apart from his wife, Jo Ann and is hoping that his business which he is jump-starting will help patch things up. Unfortunately, things with Jo Ann aren't as good as he makes out to be: she has separated with him. Financially, things are worse: Mickey has a gambling habit and during a recent trip to a casino, he lost his wallet after a one night stand with a prostitute.
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The title of Michael Powell's WWII propaganda actioner refers to the boundary separating the United States and Canada. A suitably righteous narrator tells us it's the world's only undefended national border and, as such, befits the values of peace and democracy shared by the two countries. 49th Parallel isn't a strident call to arms meant to guilt-trip Americans into re-thinking their neutrality, but rather a tribute to the Canadian (and to all free-thinking) people who were already involved in the anti-Nazi effort. By praising democratic values and warning of the Nazi threat looming over the free world, 49th Parallel was director Michael Powell's roundabout exhortation to the American people to join the good fight.
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The '12 Years A Slave' director will receive the accolade at the London Film Festival in October.
Critics from all over the world were asked to name the best movie of the past 16 years.