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Davey Fenwick leaves his mining village on a university scholarship intent on returning to better support the miners against the owners. But he falls in love with Jenny who gets him to marry her and return home as local schoolteacher before finishing his degree. Davey finds he is ill-at-ease in his role, the more so when he realises Jenny still loves her former boyfriend. When he finds that his father and the other miners are going to have to continue working on a possibly deadly coal seam he decides to act. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Well, Fenwick, will the men work tomorrow?
Not if its to be in Scupper Flats, Mr. Barras.
[indicating a well-dressed union official]
Even against your union?
The union isn't being asked to work in Scupper Flats. On the other side of that coal seam is a million tons of flood water ready to rush right down on top of us.
You don't think I'd take a chance in floodin' me own mine, do you, Fenwick?
Well, show us the plans of them old workings, then!
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A rare example of a British movie of the 30s-40s which deals sympathetically with "ordinary" people, here the coal miners of Northern England.
I watched and thoroughly enjoyed "The Stars Look Down" which was screened today as part of the BBC's Summer Festival of historic British movies, having read and enjoyed the novel many years ago but having never previously had an opportunity to see the movie.
It was of particular interest because the novelist, A.J. Cronin actually set the novel near my home town of Ashington in the North East of England, and got it pretty well right as he'd worked as a medic in the area for some years. Interestingly enough, I noticed that many US critics refer to it as being set in a "Welsh" mining village. This may well be because they recognised Emlyn Williams's accent as Welsh and the rest were a pretty mixed bunch - I spotted only one genuine North-East accent! Like all "Socialist Realism" the melodrama was overplayed - nonetheless, there was some truth and accuracy in there and it was fascinating to see how the movie treats coal miners - rightly, in my opinion - as heroic figures.
An unjustly neglected classic.
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