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The Stars Look Down

1939 1h 50m Drama List
90% Tomatometer 10 Reviews 59% Audience Score 250+ Ratings
Based on the novel of the same name by A.J. Cronin, this British drama presents the hardships faced by a coal-mining village. Local boy Davey Fenwick (Michael Redgrave) goes off to attend university, with hopes of helping his home town in the political arena, but he returns as a schoolteacher, along with his restless wife, Jenny (Margaret Lockwood). When Jenny's ex-boyfriend, the ambitious Joe Gowlan (Emlyn Williams), reappears, it leads directly to a clash with Davey. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (10) Critics Reviews
Time Out Some two decades before the Kitchen Sink cinema of the British New Wave, Carol Reed made this serious, committed film about life in a northern mining community. Jul 6, 2010 Full Review Variety Staff Variety There are some gaps where treatment is not on par with dramatic situation. Jul 6, 2010 Full Review Theodore Strauss New York Times In The Stars Look Down Mr. Reed has made a film to be remembered in this or any other season. Rated: 4.5/5 May 21, 2003 Full Review Graham Greene The Spectator Since this is the story of a mine disaster his work will inevitably be compared with Pabst's in Kameradschaft : he can bear the comparison. Sep 11, 2019 Full Review MFB Critics Monthly Film Bulletin The scenario writer has wisely concentrated on a well-knit and straightforward plot. The result is thoroughly holding entertainment. Jan 28, 2019 Full Review TV Guide At once topical and enduring, this powerful drama influenced by the social realism of the British documentary greatly enhanced the growing reputation of Reed, then a young director. Rated: 4/4 Feb 25, 2013 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (12) audience reviews
david l The Stars Look Down has good performances, great beginning and ending, some sad moments and it is admittedly pretty well crafted and made, but the characterization isn't that good, the emotional intensity isn't as strong as it should have been and the whole film is quite rushed at times and overall forgettable. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Very gripping and a great piece of social realism of a mining community. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/24/23 Full Review Audience Member A lot like the latter 1941 Oscar winner How Green Was My Valley. Even the same set. BUT, not even close to that film. About coal mines in the same Welsh setting. Similarly begins as a confrontation between mine ownership and the men. The mine is shut down and when opens is dangerous and fails (just like How Green Was My Valley). [img]http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRtvt5M0-j1K4zNmZPMrT6RNYG9ZVTGMqdQsMvKF97Sx2vWKtXMKg[/img] But this one centers on a college bound man who gets not much support from fellow miners. Anti-intellectual stuff. [img]http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSNafjUaTo3xSw-yqRIrqzs_84Xnp6EFVXtQhVtpcUAVzW2f5F39YwJkPKp[/img] The father (and some of the men) hopes that the hardship in the mines and the safety aspects will someday be addressed by the son. Fast paced, well done flick. The accents of the Welsh fortunately are not so thick we can't understand. [img]http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSKXzYtjSqEUBMr3KfgA5x8Lf89TvJ5mSmHJqqWdwL3eM0oAiQ6[/img] The problem for ME in this film is that it doesn't hold my interest. Our college lad gets married to a gal that seems a twit. [img]http://ia600503.us.archive.org/5/items/TheStarsLookDown1940/TheStarsLookDown1940.thumbs/TheStarsLookDown1940_002160.jpg[/img] It therefore sags in the middle of the film. Turns into a romantic triangle from the initial issues of miner abuse. [img]http://ia600503.us.archive.org/5/items/TheStarsLookDown1940/TheStarsLookDown1940.thumbs/TheStarsLookDown1940_002280.jpg[/img] His wife still holds a torch for his new advisary in the movie (now an advisor to the owner). He then loses his wife. [img]http://ia600503.us.archive.org/5/items/TheStarsLookDown1940/TheStarsLookDown1940.thumbs/TheStarsLookDown1940_002880.jpg[/img] The mine owner gave our lad the ability to go to college, but when he is let go from his school teacher job, he comes hat in hand back to the mine owner who gives him a job. Things come to blows between our two old friends/lovers of the same gal in front of the owner (seated). [img]http://ia600503.us.archive.org/5/items/TheStarsLookDown1940/TheStarsLookDown1940.thumbs/TheStarsLookDown1940_003600.jpg[/img] I have no punch line to end this review. It was tough to get through for some reason. The fast talking welsch dialog gets real tiresome. [img]http://ia600503.us.archive.org/5/items/TheStarsLookDown1940/TheStarsLookDown1940.thumbs/TheStarsLookDown1940_004020.jpg[/img] The climactic showdown between our lead star and the directors of the mine. He fails to stop the dangerous problem of water in the mine. [img]http://ia600503.us.archive.org/5/items/TheStarsLookDown1940/TheStarsLookDown1940.thumbs/TheStarsLookDown1940_004080.jpg[/img] NOTES about the film: 1 Oddly, New York Times Critics' Pick and is listed in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made. 2 The original set of the mine-head was used to make up a huge composite set of 40,000 square yards, the largest exterior set ever constructed for a British film at the time. The set consisted of an exact replica of the Workington mine where the location work had been done, including a pit-head complete with cage, ramp, outer buildings, and rows of miners' cottages. [img]http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSo-YVlaxSct2Ysd6e682dan478OUOPiHeUuUBFp8zMou3q0Eli[/img] CAST Cast Michael Redgrave as Davey Fenwick Margaret Lockwood as Jenny Sunley Emlyn Williams as Joe Gowlan Nancy Price as Martha Fenwick Allan Jeayes as Richard Barras Edward Rigby as Robert Fenwick Linden Travers as Mrs. Laura Millington Cecil Parker as Stanley Millington Milton Rosmer as Harry Nugent, MP George Carney as Slogger Gowlan Ivor Barnard as Wept Olga Lindo as Mrs. Sunley Desmond Tester as Hughie Fenwick David Markham as Arthur Barras Aubrey Mallalieu as Hudspeth Kynaston Reeves as Strother Clive Baxter as Pat Reedy James Harcourt as Will Frederick Burtwell as Union Official Directed by Carol Reed Produced by Isadore Goldsmith Maurice J. Wilson Written by A. J. Cronin (novel & screenplay) J.B. Williams Narrated by Lionel Barrymore [img]http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSY5x_xe0PvcYyZbDGCZtcvaUZdijJMubxTjFSEksFNQt4w29ls[/img] Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review Audience Member Havn't seen it and heard it's OK Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Audience Member Not a bad film, although some parts failed to hold my attention for long. I think it ended rather abruptly, but perhaps thats just me being too critical. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/19/23 Full Review Audience Member Oooh, now this is a truly wonderful precursor to the British social realism that would take off in later years. I challenge ye to watch it and not weep. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Stars Look Down

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Cast & Crew

AKA 58% 65% AKA Last Orders 79% 73% Last Orders An Awfully Big Adventure 40% 57% An Awfully Big Adventure All Creatures Great and Small 71% 58% All Creatures Great and Small Nicholas Nickleby 78% 75% Nicholas Nickleby Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

Movie Info

Synopsis Based on the novel of the same name by A.J. Cronin, this British drama presents the hardships faced by a coal-mining village. Local boy Davey Fenwick (Michael Redgrave) goes off to attend university, with hopes of helping his home town in the political arena, but he returns as a schoolteacher, along with his restless wife, Jenny (Margaret Lockwood). When Jenny's ex-boyfriend, the ambitious Joe Gowlan (Emlyn Williams), reappears, it leads directly to a clash with Davey.
Director
Carol Reed
Producer
Sadore Goldschmidt
Screenwriter
A.J. Cronin, J.B. Williams, A.J. Cronin
Production Co
Grand National
Genre
Drama
Original Language
British English
Runtime
1h 50m