The Power and the Glory (1941 film)

The Power and the Glory is a 1941 Australian war film about a Czech scientist who escapes from the Nazis to live in Australia. It features an early screen performance by Peter Finch.

The Power and the Glory
Directed byNoel Monkman
Written byNoel Monkman
Harry Lauder
Based onstory 'A Man Without a Country' by Noel Monkman
StarringPeter Finch
Katrin Rosselle
Music byHenry Kripps
CinematographyArthur Higgins
George Malcolm (aerial photography)
Edited byFrank Coffey
Distributed byMGM
Release date
Running time
93 mins


In Europe, a peaceful Czech scientist, Professor Marnelle, has unintentionally developed a nerve gas while working on a new fuel. Marnelle doesn’t want to use his invention for evil but he's threatened by his Nazi masters, including Von Schweig with a concentration camp. Marnelle destroys his lab and manages to escape with his daughter Elsa – but is then recaptured.

We then meet two members of the British secret service who are in a café – when another man is arrested the two of them flee. They trick a passing German car into stopping and knock them out – to discover Marnelle and his daughter are in the back seat, prisoners. They take the Germans uniforms, drive the prisoners to the airport and manage to escape in a plane. The Marnelles go to Australia but the Nazis find out about it and decide to track him there.

Marnelle starts working for the Australian air force and meets pilot Frank Miller. Nazi officer Von Schweig arrives in Australia and meets up with local fifth columnists who are planning sabotage on Australian planes – Miller's ends up crashing and he winds up in hospital.

By this stage the war has started and there is a scene where Von Schweig and a fifth columnist, Dr Vass, look at some Australian soldiers marching past. Von Schweig says "we did not expect the enthusiasm of the dominions" for the war. Dr Vass says that he has been in Australia for a number of years and still does not understand them, adding that "you expect from their interest in sport that nothing else matters, but in war the greater the danger the harder they fought".

Miller and his friend Ted Jackson visit the Marnelles in their rural hideaway, where they are looked after by a comic Chinaman; Ted has fallen for Elsa. The fifth columnists and Von Schweig meet up with a spy who is revealed to be Frank Miller. Miller tells them where to find the scientist; they capture and start torturing him to find the formula.

The Germans are about to take the Marnelles back to Europe but Mack manages to sneak off and inform the authorities. Ted Jackson rescues Marnelle but Miller's treachery enables the Germans to take off with the formula. Jackson hops in a plane and flies after Miller and Von Schweig, shooting them down in a dog fight. A German U-boat is also destroyed.


  • Katrin Rosselle as Els Marnelle
  • Eric Bush as Ted Jackson
  • Lou Vernon as Professor Marnelle
  • Eric Reiman as Von Schweig
  • Peter Finch as Frank Miller
  • Sidney Wheeler as His Excellency
  • Charles Kilburn as John Burton
  • Joe Valli as Mack
  • John Fernside as Dr Vass
  • Max Osbiston as flight leader
  • Beatrice Wenban as Freda
  • Harry Abdy as Fritz Grubler
  • Horace Cleary as Wong
  • Ron Dargin as Bluey
  • Clement Kennedy as Weary
  • Raymond Longford as Nazi Admiral


The story was an original one by Monkman, who then worked on the script with Harry Lauder. Filming commenced in June 1940. Shooting took place at Fig Tree Studios in Hunters Hill, Sydney with additional scenes shot at Camden. Financing was made possible by an overdraft guaranteed by the New South Wales government.

The female star, Katrin Roselle, was an Austrian migrant who married an Australian then moved to Hollywood after the film was made.[2]

Finch was injured during filming when wind filled an open parachute he was holding and pulled him off his feet at the RAAF base at Camden.[3]

The freighter Turkana which appears in the movie was sunk soon after filming by a German raider.[4]


Distribution was done through MGM, the first time that company had handled an Australian feature film.[5]

The Chief Films Censor, Cresswell O'Reilly, ruled that the film was not suitable for general exhibition (i.e. for adults and not children) but this was overturned on appeal.[6][7][8]

The movie received generally positive reviews.[9][10] However Monkman directed no further feature films.

The movie was re-released in 1952 as The Invaders.[11]


  1. "FOUR LOCAL FILMS". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 13 March 1940. p. 13. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  2. "Star of R.A.A.F. Film Departs". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 3 May 1941. p. 20. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  3. "FILM ACTOR INJURED". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 2 September 1940. p. 10. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  4. "TASMAN SEARCH FOR RAIDER". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 26 August 1940. p. 14. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  5. "R.A.A.F. FILM". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 10 March 1941. p. 6. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  6. "NO DECISION ON FILM APPEAL". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 31 March 1941. p. 5. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  7. "CHILDREN MAY NOW SEE LOCAL FILM". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 2 April 1941. p. 11. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  8. ""ADULTS ONLY."". The Cairns Post. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 2 April 1941. p. 6. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  9. ""THE POWER AND THE GLORY."". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 7 April 1941. p. 3. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  10. "Action with R.A.A.F." The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 15 November 1941. p. 5. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  11. "Advertising". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 25 August 1953. p. 7. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
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