Michael Powell

49th Parallel

49th Parallel

At once a compelling piece of anti-isolationist propaganda and a quick-witted wartime thriller, 49th Parallel is a classic early work from the inimitable British filmmaking team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. When a Nazi U-boat crew, headed by the ruthless Eric Portman, is stranded in Canada during the thick of World War II, the men evade capture by hiding out in a series of rural communities, before trying to cross the border into the still-neutral United States. Both soul-stirring and delightfully entertaining, 49th Parallel features a colorful cast of characters played by larger-than-life actors Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey, Anton Walbrook, and Leslie Howard.

Film Info

  • Michael Powell
  • United Kingdom
  • 1941
  • 123 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  • Spine #376

Special Features

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by film and music historian Bruce Eder
  • The Volunteer, a 1943 Powell and Pressburger war-effort short starring Ralph Richardson
  • A Pretty British Affair, a BBC documentary on the careers of Powell and Pressburger, which considers their WWII-era collaborations and features rare footage of the filmmakers together
  • Excerpts from Michael Powell's audio dictations for his autobiography
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: A new essay by film scholar Charles Barr and Powell's 1941 premiere speech

New cover by Eric Skillman

Purchase Options

Special Features

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by film and music historian Bruce Eder
  • The Volunteer, a 1943 Powell and Pressburger war-effort short starring Ralph Richardson
  • A Pretty British Affair, a BBC documentary on the careers of Powell and Pressburger, which considers their WWII-era collaborations and features rare footage of the filmmakers together
  • Excerpts from Michael Powell's audio dictations for his autobiography
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: A new essay by film scholar Charles Barr and Powell's 1941 premiere speech

New cover by Eric Skillman

49th Parallel
Cast
Leslie Howard
Philip Armstrong Scott
Eric Portman
Lieutenant Hirth
Raymond Massey
Andy Brock
Laurence Olivier
Johnnie
Anton Walbrook
Peter
Raymond Lovell
Lieutenant Kuhnecke
Niall MacGinnis
Vogel
Glynis Johns
Anna
Finlay Currie
The Factor
Credits
Director
Michael Powell
Original story and screenplay
Emeric Pressburger
Producer
Michael Powell
Scenario
Emeric Pressburger
Music
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Cinematography
Frederick Young
Editing
David Lean
Scenario
Rodney Ackland

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49th Parallel

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Explore

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Writer, Producer, Director

Though The Red Shoes is possibly the most popular and visually entrancing dance film of all time, the producing, directing, and writing team of the British Michael Powell and the Hungarian Emeric Pressburger created numerous other odes to the power of art and the imagination, always going against the realist strain of British cinema. Known by the name of their production company, the Archers, Powell and Pressburger forged a working alliance that lasted from the late thirties to the early seventies, and from the anti-Nazi propaganda of 49th Parallel and the astoundingly designed and edited epic The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp to the erotic, magical excesses of A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I’m Going!, Black Narcissus, and The Tales of Hoffmann. The duo were never as successful on their own as with each other, though Powell’s controversial Peeping Tom remains one of the most subversive and disturbing films ever made.