At a time of rising nationalism in Germany, the great G.W. Pabst turned to the contested border with France to make a classic about solidarity that transcends such considerations. The film is set just after World War I in a mine that finds itself divided between Germany and France by the Treaty of Versailles. A fire in the French side of the mine threatens workers, but the presence of the border complicates their rescue. Will patriotism trump comradeship? History records that Pabst’s hopeful fable went tragically unheeded.