Oscar Movies: Invaders (1942)

(aka 49th Parallel)

During WWII, the British were represented in the Oscar race with two war pictures. The first, Michael Powell’s “The Invaders,” made in l941 and released in the U.S. a year later, deals with six survivors from a Nazi submarine attempting to cross the Canadian border to the United States.

Expectedly propagandistic, the film’s real distinction is its wonderful cast: Laurence Olivier (in a splashy cameo as a fur trapper), Leslie Howard, Raymond Massey, and best of all Eric Portman as a heartless, relentless Nazi. Glynis Johns is one of the few women in the ensemble with a real part. In later years, “The Invaders” reverted to its original British title, “49th Parallel.”

The other U.K. film was In Which We Serve, which was nominated for the 1943 Best Picture.

Oscar Nominations: 3

Picture, produced by Michael Powell
Screenplay: Rodney Ackland and Emeric Pressburger
Story (Original): Emeric Pressburger

Oscar Awards: 1


Oscar Context

“Mrs. Miniver” may be one of the worst films to have ever won the Best Picture Oscar. In 1942, “Mrs. Miniver” competed against The Invaders, Kings Row, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Pied Piper, The Pride of the Yankees, Random Harvest, The Talk of the Town, Wake Island, and Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Most of these films were patriotic flag-wavers, reflecting the surrounding reality of the U.S. 1941 entry into WWII. Next to “Mrs. Miniver,” the Gary Cooper sports biopic “The Pride of the Yankees,” was the most nominated (11) picture, though it won only one Oscar, for Daniel Mandell’s editing.

Mrs. Miniver also won the Screenplay Oscar for George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West, and Arthur Wimperis.