Pastor Hall | Chicago Reader

Pastor Hall

Released in 1940, this piece of anti-Nazi propaganda from the UK turns the true story of a German village pastor who resisted the SS into a battle between Christianity and evil. The first half is a dull and rather obvious profile in courage, featuring Wilfrid Lawson as the tenacious churchman and Nova Pilbeam as his compassionate daughter, but the second half, which chronicles Hall's internment in a concentration camp, is harrowing in its stark, documentary realism. The Nazis, of course, are cruel, opportunistic, and virulently anti-Semitic as they intrude on the peace of the good though obedient German people. To make the characters seem more familiar, director Roy Boulting lets his British players speak in their native accents, an effect that now seems jarring, but his able cast drives home the message, especially Lawson as the bulldog saint. 97 min.

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