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The Stars Look Down (1940)

7.2
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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 ... See full summary »

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(from the book by) (as A. J. Cronin) , (screenplay) (as J. B. Williams) , 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Margaret Lockwood ...
Emlyn Williams ...
Nancy Price ...
Allan Jeayes ...
Edward Rigby ...
Linden Travers ...
Cecil Parker ...
Milton Rosmer ...
George Carney ...
Ivor Barnard ...
Olga Lindo ...
Desmond Tester ...
David Markham ...
Aubrey Mallalieu ...
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Storyline

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 <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 September 1940 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

...a hvézdy mlcí  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Ultra Violet Recording) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Carol Reed disowned the film, calling it "a gloomy little piece". He expected it to be a box office disaster and was highly surprised when wartime audiences warmed enthusiastically to it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Richard Barras: Well, Fenwick, will the men work tomorrow?
Robert Fenwick: Not if its to be in Scupper Flats, Mr. Barras.
[indicating a well-dressed union official]
Richard Barras: Even against your union?
Robert Fenwick: 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.
Richard Barras: You don't think I'd take a chance in floodin' me own mine, do you, Fenwick?
Robert Fenwick: Well, show us the plans of them old workings, then!
See more »

Connections

Version of The Stars Look Down (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Essential, dark drama
27 February 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Director Carol Reeds version of A.J. Cronins novel of poverty, greed and unfulfilled dreams still seems fresh today despite its sixty years.

Michael Redgrave stars as Davey Fenwick, a bright man from a poor mining background, who wins a scholarship to university. He hopes to graduate and then enter politics, so as to work to end the suffering of his kith and kin and their ilk.

However, his plans change when he meets and falls in love with Jenny Sunley (played by Margaret Lockwood), a strikingly beautiful but manipulative and materialistic little minx who has just been cruelly dumped (why???) by her boyfriend, Daveys old friend, the ruthlessly ambitious Joe Gowlan (Emlyn Williams). Understandably smitten, Davey marries the lovely but self-centred Jenny and, at her instigation, quits university and moves home to work as a schoolteacher. But his world is turned upside down when trouble at the pit, Jennys restlessness and the reappearance of Joe, whom Jenny still loves and who is now flashily well-to-do,combine.

At the time, this was one of the most expensive films ever made in Britain. But it was well worth the investment. It assured Carol Reeds reputation and gave to film audiences and to posterity a grimly realistic picture of life at the sharp end in 30s Britain. The all-star cast too got a chance to show their ability, giving terrific performances; Redgrave is superb as the disillusioned idealist, Williams is thoroughly unpleasant as the unfeeling, cynical Joe while Margaret Lockwood, one-time screen ingénue in her first wicked girl role, gives a wonderful performance as the drop-dead gorgeous, vixenish, gold-digging Jenny.

As social commentary this is a great movie, but, on another, more profound level,it works as a dark, despairing canvas depicting the often destructive nature of human relationships. Essential viewing!


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