49th Parallel

Synopsis: In the early years of World War II, a German U-boat (U-37) sinks Allied shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and then tries to evade Canadian Military Forces seeking to destroy it by sailing up to Hudson Bay. The U-boat's Fanatical Nazi captain sends some members of his crew to look for food and other supplies at a Hudson Bay Company outpost. No sooner than the shore party (lead by Lieutenant Hirth) reaches the shore, the U-boat is spotted and sunk by the Canadian Armed Forces leaving the six members of the shore party stranded in Canada. The Nazi Lieutenant then starts to plan his crews' return to the Fatherland. He needs to reach the neutral United States or be captured. Along the way they meet a variety of characters each with their own views on the war and nationalism. In this film Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger show their ideas of why the United States should join the Allied fight against the Nazis.
Genre: Drama, Thriller, War
Director(s): Michael Powell
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
104 min


[Man Narrating]

I see a long, straight line athwart a continent.

No chain of forts

or deep-flowing river or mountain range ...

... but a line drawn by men upon a map

nearly a century ago ...

... accepted with a handshake

and kept ever since ...

... a boundary

which divides two nations ...

... yet marks

their friendly meeting ground ...

The 49th parallel

the only undefended frontier in the world.

Gun crew!

Battle stations!

Fine work, Hirth.

Magnificent, Herr Kommandant

So the curtain rises on Canada.



Stand by! Stand by!

Radio message received

from motor ship Anticostilite.

Reports attacked by German submarine,

latitude 4-0 degrees, 1-5 minutes north ...

... longitude 5-8 degrees,

Reports sinking rapidly

and only one boat seaworthy.

Latitude 4-0, 1-5 minutes north,

longitude 5-8, 2-5 minutes west.

Warn all coastal batteries in the area

to be on 24-hour watch until further notice.

Warn all DF stations

[Man #2 On RA] All destroyer flotillas

in conjunction with antisubmarine units ...

... at Sydney, Canso and Bay of Chaleur ...

... operate plan zed.

[Man #3 On RA] Turn every available

patrol plane to locating the raider.

Every available patrol plane

to locating the raider.

[Warning Siren Blares]

[Men Chattering, Faint]

Stop motors!

Find the captain. Question him.

[Chattering Continues]


- Yes, Herr Kommandant?

- What in the devil's name are you doing?

Wheres your camera?

[Sailor Gasping]

[Kommandant] You there. Come alongside.

- [Sailor] Hang on, boy.

- Man the gun.

[Sailor] Yes, we'll make it.

Come on, all together.

- [Kommandant] Stop!

- [Sailor] Take it now

- Where's your Captain?

- The old man's dead.

He went down to the cabin to get the ship's papers.

He must've got caught when she rolled.

Your First Officer?

- Jackie's dead too, isn't he?

- Yes.

Your Second Officer.

- Here.

- Come on deck.

- The ship?

- The Anticostilite

- Your destination?

- Montreal.

- Your cargo?

- Crude oil.

- How many tons?

- Three thousand.

That's a lie. You were carrying a full cargo

- Is that correct?

- If you say so.

[Motor Whirring]



Action stations!

Prepare to dive!


You dirty swinel


Half speed ahead

- Flood five.

- Flood five.

- Depth, 30 meters.

- Thirty.

Five Ten Twenty

Here come the boys!

Give 'em a cheer!

[Sailors Cheering]

Only a fool would imagine

we could raid enemy ships for supplies now.

Outgoing ships will be detained,

incoming ships heavily convoyed ...

... at least for the next few days.

We must find a spot where the enemy

is least likely to seek us out ...

... which is not being patrolled every day ...

... where they'll never think

of looking for us.

Hudson Bay.

[Warning Siren Blares]

Too many damned icebergs about.

- What's our position?

- Three miles off Point Amour.

If we go up, we risk the patrols,

but we'll make better time.

If we stay below, we risk the ship.

I'm going up. Action stations!

Where are we? The North Pole?

Belle Isle Straits.

There's a lot of ice coming down.

- Fifty degrees.

- Fifty degrees, Herr Leutnant

[Wind Howling]



I can see the opening dead ahead.

Take a look here.

[Kommandant] You're quite sure

this is a suitable in-draft.

Yes, Herr Kommandant

Those are the cliffs he mentions in his notes.

[Man On P.A.] Stand by.

Radio message received via Resolution Island

from Hudson Bay post at Port Burwell.

Eskimo hunter reports two days ago seeing object

proceeding due west through Hudson Straits.

May be German submarine U-37.

Warn Royal Canadian Air Force bases at Churchill

and Wakeham Bay to send out patrols.

- Ninety-five degrees.

- Ninety-five degrees, Herr Kommandant

According to my log, there should be

a sheltered beach at the end of the fjord.

- Will you go in?

- Yes.

Then you can pick a landing party, clean ship

I'll give you 12 hours

[Wind Howling, Whistling]


Leutnant Hirth, you have your orders.

Leutnant Kuhnecke,

you are second in command

You are taking one day's rations

with younot more.

Your mission is to bring back food and fuel.

Over that hill you will find

a Hudson's Bay trading post.

If the men there are armed

and are foolish enough to offer resistance ...

... you will destroy them


Take this flag.

As soon as the post is captured,

you will hoist it and I shall bring the ship in.

Do not forget, you are the first of

the German forces to set foot on Canadian soil ...

... the first of many thousands.

Be worthy of that high honor.

Acquit yourselves like men and Germans.

Each of you, in the fulfillment of his duty ...

... is helping to bring about the completion

of our Fhrer's great plan.

Today, Europe. Tomorrow, the whole world!

Heil Hitler!

At ease.

Follow me.

Submarine ahead, off Wolstenholme.

Calling number two and three.

Calling number two and three.

Peter calling Peter calling

Just spotted submarine

Going down to have a look-see.

May be a Jerry, boys.

Enemy attacking!

Action stations!

It's her, all right. U-37.

It's the Jerry, boys.

Carry out attack. Number two leading.

And, Dickie, make it hot

Okay, kid.

[Machine Gun Fire]

- [Bomb Whistling]

- Down, all of you!

- [Bomb Whistling]

- Get below! Crash dive!

And now let Papa try.

[Machine Gun Fire]

We're hit!

- Five.

- [Bomb Whistling]


- Six

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Emeric Pressburger

Emeric Pressburger (5 December 1902 – 5 February 1988) was a Hungarian British screenwriter, film director, and producer. He is best known for his series of film collaborations with Michael Powell, in an award-winning collaboration partnership known as the Archers and produced a series of films, notably 49th Parallel (1941), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Matter of Life and Death (1946, also called Stairway to Heaven), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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