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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Impolite, made back in 1992, only now gets its home video and DVD release, and it's apparently Christopher Plummer's cameo that has earned it such a merit. No one else in the film has gone on to, well, anything, and Wisden has the generic look of any one of a hundred blonde male wannabes that have come and gone through the history of Hollywood.
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Crawford plays Louise, who is introduced to us as she dazedly walks into a diner, asking for a man named David. After she collapses, she's hauled off to the mental hospital, where the doctors shake their heads and shrug. Flashbacks reveal why Louise is in such a state: She's kinda nuts, and the last thread snapped after she killed the mysterious David (Van Heflin).
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John Steinbeck's classic story draws on the Biblical tale of Cain and Abel, the two warring brothers from the Old Testament, and although Cain doesn't slay Abel in this version of the story, he comes close. Dean brings his emotive Method style to the role of Cal Trask, the "bad" son who must compete with his golden boy brother Aron (Richard Davalos) for the love of their cold, Bible-thumping father Adam (Raymond Massey). Together they work a lettuce farm in central California's fertile Salinas Valley. It's 1917, and World War I is raging overseas.
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