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      The North Star

      Released Nov 4, 1943 1h 45m War List
      Reviews 31% Audience Score 100+ Ratings The exploits of a Ukrainian farming collective overrun by the Nazi invasion. A group of young people, including Marina Pavlova and Damian Simonov, are on a walking holiday and separated from the farming village but, led by Old Karp, they manage to smuggle a wagon-load of guns into the occupied village and lead the uprising against the Nazis, led by Col Harden. Read More Read Less

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      The North Star

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      Critics Reviews

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      Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Hokey. Rated: C Jan 25, 2010 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com A prime example of how Hollywood reflected the changing political climate: When Lewis Milestone's film was made, the Soviet Union was an ally but after WWII some of its makers removed their name, while others like writer Lilian Hellman were blacklisted. Rated: B- Jul 22, 2009 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Matthew D World War II propaganda with an anti-fascist message. Director Lewis Milestone's anti-fascist war propaganda film The North Star (1943) is fascinating in many ways. Producer Samuel Goldwyn wanted a war propaganda film to bolster The Allied Powers against the genocide committing Nazis, while showing sympathy for the Ukrainian heroes. Then, The North Star gets labeled as Communist propaganda, so it gets recut into Armored Attack! (1957), which warns against Communism. I prefer the longer, full version that is The North Star. It finds empathy for Ukrainians getting invaded, which obviously and sadly still resonates. Milestone brings fiery war direction much like his anti-war picture All Quiet on the Western Front. However, the drama is really slow going at a snail's pace. It's only 108 minutes, but editor Daniel Mandell brings a few cuts during conversations that never let the movie get moving. Milestone wants you to care about these characters, but they're all brief stereotypes and not fully realized people like the actual main two or three characters. Writer Lillian Hellman creates sympathetic perspectives for the Ukrainian villagers, even though they are Communists. It is a humanist film against violence like the German Nazis taking siphoning blood from children to give to hurt German soldiers to keep fighting. Anne Baxter is adorable as a teenager and very sympathetic as her Ukrainian heroine Marina Pavlova witnesses atrocity. Baxter has to seem likable, while also displaying agony and shock on her face and in her eyes as Marina sees all her friends die. If The North Star were more focused on her, this would feel closer to Come and See. Dana Andrews is heroic, brave, and cautious as Soviet pilot Kolya Simonov. He feels selfless and encourages the battle. Walter Huston sees children die and women tortured as Dr. Pavel Grigorich Kurin until his pacifist doctor must even kill Nazis. Walter Brennan is fun and sorrowful as the elderly man Karp. Ann Harding is traumatized as the mother Sophia Pavlova, who refuses to give in to the Nazis. Farley Granger is excellent as the young rebel Damian Simonov, who must do his part for his country in desperate times using guerilla tactics. Jane Withers is both hilarious and obnoxious as the girl Clavdia Kurina, who always complains and the others call fat for some reason. Erich von Stroheim is uncaring as the evil Dr. von Harden, who steals blood from children. Dean Jagger is practically an army recruiter as Rodion Pavlov. Carl Benton Reid tries to be brave in his cameo as Boris Stepanich Simonov. Martin Kosleck as Dr. Richter is vile as the other evil Nazi doctor. Cinematographer James Wong Howe shoots stunning black and white shots with impressive sweeping camera pans. I loved his shadowy blocking and neat camera maneuvers around the battlefield. Perry Ferguson's shadowy and dark art direction show off how scary rebel warfare can feel. Howard Bristol's minimalist set decoration just shows the villagers' homes and has all the prop tanks and planes. Clarence Slifer's fake plane dogfights and tank assaults are silly, but cute. The flaming river looks frightening as are the real explosions. Composer Aaron Copland has a lovely piece of music for The North Star that really feels inspired. His music helps keep the moving grounded. Sound designer Fred Lau's loud gunshots and huge mortar rounds are shocking. Makeup artist Robert Stephanoff gives Anne Baxter the cutest hairstyle. In short, it's wartime propaganda for sure like Mrs. Miniver, but all it asks is for the viewer to sympathize with Ukrainians who have been invaded and to loathe the violent Nazi Germans. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 05/09/23 Full Review steve d Hokey propaganda but for a worthy cause. It remains entertaining. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review SICKS6SIX S Worth watching if only because its the most pro soviet film from the USA. That's if you see the original uncut version which celebrates a workers farming collective. The cut version which was changed after WW2 has this edited out and mentions Russia's invasion of other country's. Its a propaganda film and its what Walt Disney would make today if given the job of making the USSR look good in 1941 so Americans would provide them with tanks. Planes. Ammunition and food aid so they could fight the nasty Nazis. And quite rightly so.. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/16/23 Full Review Audience Member Of course it's dated - it's an anti-Nazi, pro-Soviet (actually Ukraine) film made during the height of WWII. But the actors are top notch and the music's by Aaron Copeland and the writer was Lillian Hellman and the cinematographer James Wong Howe. I hate to say "How bad can it be?" because some smart-ass always has the answer. But seriously, how bad can it be? . Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/17/23 Full Review Audience Member Director: Lewis Milestone. Anne Baxter, Dana Andrews, Walter Huston, Ann Harding, Erich von Stroheim, Jane Withers, Farley Granger, Walter Brennan. This is such an interesting movie because of it's significance in history. Yes, today this movie seems odd. The characters calling each other comrade and praising the Soviets seem like a crime, but in 1943, when this movie was made, it made sense. It's all context. The war was in full swing in 1943 and the Soviets were our allies. Now the gore and realism of this movie is beyond its time. It's incredibly harsh, which might have helped it become an obscure movie. However, it was incredibly interesting because of the harsh reality the movie choose to show. The war and what it caused was not glossed over. Kolya (Dana Andrews), Dr. Kurin (Walter Huston), Damian (Farley Granger, film debut), and Marina (Anne Baxter) are cheerful members of a utopian farming collective in the Ukraine known as the North Star. When the Nazis invade by air and armor the peaceful village, we follow the heroic activities of the villagers to repel the Nazis as some take to the hills as guerrilla fighters. Dramatic battle sequences in WW2 . Russia marred by uninteresting stretches until German von Stroheim matches wits with village leader Huston. Good performances all around; script by Lillian Hellman. Academy Awards, USA 1944 Nominee Oscar,Best Writing, Original Screenplay,Best Cinematography, Black-and-White,Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White,Best Sound, Recording,Best Effects, Special Effects,Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture Aaron Copland 8/10 Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/14/23 Full Review Audience Member The entire cast does their best, but even the efforts of great talents like Andrews, Granger, Huston, and Baxter are outdone by the sheer amount of propaganda. It's supposed to be a war film, but concerns itself more with a lot of speechifying and otherwise stupid dialogue. However, the emotions of the characters still shine through, and the cast deserves credit for trying. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 01/27/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      The North Star

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      Synopsis The exploits of a Ukrainian farming collective overrun by the Nazi invasion. A group of young people, including Marina Pavlova and Damian Simonov, are on a walking holiday and separated from the farming village but, led by Old Karp, they manage to smuggle a wagon-load of guns into the occupied village and lead the uprising against the Nazis, led by Col Harden.
      Lewis Milestone
      Lillian Hellman
      RKO Radio Pictures
      Production Co
      Samuel Goldwyn Company
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Nov 4, 1943, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jun 30, 2016
      1h 45m
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