This film is part of Free

Mr. Emmanuel

An elderly Jewish man journeys to Nazi Germany to track down a refugee’s mother in this extraordinary drama

Drama 1944 97 mins


One of the earliest fiction films to depict the oppression and persecution in Nazi Germany, Mr. Emmanuel follows an elderly Jewish man (Felix Aylmer) who leaves England to embark on an ill-advised mission to Nazi Germany to search for the mother of a German child refugee. He immediately arouses the suspicions of the Gestapo and finds himself in terrifying danger. The film was based on the novel Magnolia Street by Jewish author Louis Golding.

Released in 1944, before the extent of Nazi atrocities became widely known abroad, Mr. Emmanuel is a fascinating WWII drama with unusually dark themes. Scenes referencing a child’s attempted suicide and the cruel treatment meted out to the benevolent title character still disturb, while the inclusion of a sympathetic Jewish singer (Greta Gynt), who is having an affair with a Nazi officer, adds further complexity. The grimly ironic ending, too, is startling.