Sep 28, 2008

49th Parallel

If, like me, you're an ex-Canadian who loves all things Canada, you're bound to love 49th Parallel, a propaganda film from World War II that, although hokey and full of stereotypes, presents the Nazi menace with urgency, charm, and sometimes shocking brutality.

Whenever my brother and I see our friend Ryan--a current Canadian--we joke about the general mightlessness of our northern neighbor's military forces. This movie, produced by Brits to educate Brits about their Canadian cousins, won't dispel any rumors of dogsled battalions hidden in igloo bunkers, and in the end, it takes Americans to round up the last fleeing Nazi. (I won't share my multitudinous quips; watch the film, and savor your own. There are plentiful opportunities.)

49th Parallel is a historical curiosity, more travelogue / tourism film than anything. Meet Eskimos, Quebecois, Hutterites, Indigenous Canadians, in-the-closet writers, and repentant pacificists as you jaunt across the unfrozen wasteland to the north, following a rag-tag band of Nazi submariners. If you don't love Canada by the time the movie's done, you're a hoser.

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