The crew of a German U-boat is stranded in Hudson Bay and begins to terrorize its way to the still neutral U.S.A. From fur trappers, to a Hutterite commune, to a camping intellectual, to a discouraged AWOL soldier, the Nazis only reinforce Canadian solidarity as the members of their group begin to dwindle. "49th Parallel" was a WWII propaganda film from the inimitable directing and writing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and shows the cruel and brutal actions of the brainwashed Germans against the colorful Canadian inhabitants, played by the likes of greats such as Laurence Olivier, Anton Walbrook, Leslie Howard, and Raymond Massey. "49th Parallel" serves dual purposes in being both a rousing and formidable entertainment.
The Criterion DVD features another propaganda film made for the war by the directing duo called "The Volunteer and made in 1943 to stir recruitment. It stars Ralph Richardson, currently performing Othello in London and follows his dresser as he becomes a war hero. Also featuring Olivier, this is a slight but not uninteresting relic from a great directing team.