The North Star (November 4, 1943)
Released on November 4, 1943: (running time 1 hour and 46 minutes) Ukranian villagers resist the Nazi attacks in the summer of 1941 as World War Two rages throughout Europe.
Produced by Samuel Goldwyn
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Written by Lillian Hellman
The Actors: Anne Baxter (Marina Pavlova), Dana Andrews (Kolya Simonov), Walter Huston (Dr. Pavel Grigorich Kurin), Walter Brennan (Karp), Ann Harding (Sophia Pavlova), Jane Withers (Clavdia Kurina), Farley Granger (Damian Simonov), Erich von Stroheim (Dr. von Harden), Dean Jagger (Rodion Pavlov), Eric Roberts (Grisha Kurin), Carl Benton Reid (Boris Stepanich Simonov), Ann Carter (Olga Pavlova), Esther Dale (Anna), Ruth Nelson (Nadya Simonova), Paul Guilfoyle (Lakin), Martin Kosleck (Dr. Richter), Tonio Selwart (German Captain), Peter Pohlenz (German Lieutenant), Robert Lowery (Russian gunner), Gene O'Donnell (Russian pilot), Frank Wilcox (Commander Petrov), Loudie Claar (woman on hospital cot), Lynn Winthrop (guerilla girl), Charles Bates (Patya), Florence Auer (woman farmer), John Bagni (guard at desk), Art Baker (radio voice), Bill Borzage (accordion player in wagon), Frederic Brunn (German motorcycle officer), Edward Burns (guerilla), Edmund Cobb (farmer), Grace Cunard (farmer's wife), Constant Franke (Boris' aide), Inna Gest (specialty dancer), Teddy Infuhr (bald schoolboy), John Judd (farmer), Ilia Khmara (first accordion player), Grace Lenard (woman on bridge), George Lynn (German pilot), Jerry Mickelsen (farmer's son), Georgie Nokes (boy), Sarah Padden (old lady), Patricia Parks (Sonya), Minna Phillips (old lady in wagon), Tommy Rall (dancing peasant), Ferdinand Schumann-Heink (doctor's assistant), Charles Straight (young man in wagon), Harry Strang (guerilla), Ray Teal (German soldier with binoculars and grenade), Joyce Tucker (little girl in hospital), William Walker (young man in wagon), Crane Whitley (German soldier)
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War is Ugly, and Not for the Young
In the early 1960's I was a youngster living with my family in Meadville, Pennsylvania. In those days the 'Cold War' was raging, and we were all ready to 'Duck and Cover' if the nasty Soviet Union dropped a bomb on our town. During those days the town would sound an air raid siren every Wednesday evening at 9pm, to test the system and make sure everything was working all right.
Many times I would have just gone to bed, and laying in the dark room would hear the siren, and wonder, 'Dad says it is only a test, not the real thing, but what if those awful Soviet people that want to kill us decide that Wednesday at 9pm is the perfect time to drop ‘the bomb’ and any second now will be my last second before I die?' Well, it never was, and I have lived to become an old man without seeing the devastation of major war in any town that I have lived in.
This was not the case for the small Ukrainian town of North Star on June 22, 1941. During World War II the Ukraine part of the Soviet Union was attacked even before the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor and America joined the war.
June 22, 1941 was a sunny and warm day in the Ukranian village of North Star, and school was out for the summer. Four teenage school children are going to hike to Kiev for a summer holiday along with one older brother who is a pilot for the Soviet Union. The second day of their journey the teens join a convoy of wagons for a ride when they hear planes overhead. They discover that enemy planes are overhead and quickly get out of their wagons and into the shallow ditch next to the road.
For the first time the young teenagers experience the horrors of war. Walter Brennan, as Karp, tells the teens to look away because the face of war is ugly, and not for the young. One of the teen girls replies that after the bombing that they survived they are not young anymore. Back at the small village of North Star the villagers are preparing for war, . . . And there is an enemy convoy of soldiers on their way to occupy the town of North Star. Soon it will be peasant villagers against the might of the enemy armies as war engulfs the world and the small Ukranian village.
Note: In the 1950’s when we were in a cold war with the Soviet Union and some in the U.S. thought that the country was filled with Communists masquerading as Americans, this movie was condemned because it showed the Ukrainian villagers sympathetically. The movie was re-issued with a different title and all of the scenes showing the Ukrainian villagers as good people were cut out of the movie. Those sentiments probably also led Samuel Goldwyn to let the movie fall into public domain early. This version of the story is the full unedited story as it was first filmed. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy a slice of historical drama from World War II.
Anne Baxter, Farley Granger and Jane Withers
Anne Baxter and Farley Granger
Carl Benton Reid and Ruth Nelson
Carl Benton Reid
Dean Jagger, Ann Carter and Ann Harding
Erich von Stroheim and Martin Kosleck
Farley Granger, Ruth Nelson and Dana Andrews
Jane Withers and Anne Baxter
Jane Withers and Dana Andrews
Jane Withers, Eric Roberts and Esther Dale
Walter Brennan and Farley Granger
Walter Brennan and Jane Withers