Classic Film Guide

Watch on the Rhine (1943)

This is a must-see which is also timely for today's times. A great film about standing up for what is right, regardless of the odds, with Oscar nominated dialogue ("speeches") from screenwriter Dashiell Hammett (his only Academy recognition, for adapting Lillian Hellman's play) everyone needs to hear, spoken by Paul Lukas, who sets a great example as a father. Lukas is so good, he won the Best Actor Academy Award that year, beating Humphrey Bogart (in Casablanca, no less!) and Gary Cooper (in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)) among others. Bette Davis plays Lukas's supportive wife and mother of their well educated (home schooled?) children, Geraldine Fitzgerald the wife of George Couloris's seemingly benign yet ultimately evil husband, Lucile Watson (who received her only Oscar nomination, Supporting Actress) plays Davis's mother, and Beulah Bondi also appears. The picture itself received an Oscar nomination; it was directed by Herman Shumlin.

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