The Roth family lead a quiet life in a small village in the German Alps during the early 1930’s. When the Nazi’s come to power, the family is divided and Martin Brietner, a family friend is caught up in the turmoil.
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"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!' "
---'The Gate of the Year' Minnie Louise Haskins
This is such a courageous film when one considers the time it was made! It's really a shame that it's not remembered because it's probably one of the most important films of the 20th century...And just to let you guys know, Hitler himself banned this film from being seen in Germany...that's how powerful it was and still is!
One of the best Borzage films, and probably Hollywood's best drama dealing with Nazism (though Lubitsch's "To Be Or Not To Be" is the best film overall). The major point of ambiguity lies in the fact that Stewart's line that "the right to think what he believes" is as good for a man as food and drink is precisely the logic that defends the Nazis.