Erik Toresen, widower and fishery observer, leads a quiet life in a small Norwegian town; but after the Nazi occupation, German abuses lead Erik to form a Resistance group. After a killing, Erik flees to the wilderness and finds a secret German air base; he resolves to escape to England with its location. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director John Farrow served a highly decorated Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Canadian Navy. He was recovering from typhus at the time of this film. From "Mia" by Edward Z. Epstein & Joe Morella; and "What Falls Away" by Mia Farrow, Doubleday, 1997. See more »
When Eric Toresen (Paul Muni) left his daughter at Mrs. Olav's house and went into the mountains, he left behind the jacket he arrived with. Later after coming back down from the mountain, and without returning to Mrs. Olav's place, he has his jacket on again. See more »
Bergesen was right. Nobody, no civilized human being can know how bad they are!
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(opening dedication) Dedicated to the officers and men of the armed forces of Canada, Great Britain and Fighting Norway who participated in the filming of this picture. See more »
With a story by Hornblower creator C.S. Forrester and a screenplay by future doorstop novelist Irwin Shaw, 1942's Commandos Strike at Dawn is a solid but overlong wartime propaganda picture that benefits from a good location (Canada standing in for Norway, giving it a similar feel to parts of 49th Parallel), a strong cast (an understated Paul Muni, Ray Collins, Lillian Gish, Cedric Hardwicke and the ever likable Robert Coote among them, while Alexander Knox does double duty as a cold Nazi and the voice of the commandos' padre delivering a pre-raid sermon) but ultimately just takes too long to get where its going. Certainly the commando raid itself is a long time coming and not particularly excitingly mounted despite obvious extensive cooperation from the Canadian armed forces, although the last few minutes are almost staged as a pure western with commandos and Nazis instead of cowboys and Indians. En route it understandably overplays the acts resistance for morale-boosting purposes, but it the first half is elevated by some of the always-undervalued director John Farrow's typically complicated but unostentatious long tracking shots. For classical music buffs, Igor Stravinsky's Four Norwegian Moods was based on his rejected score for the film, replaced here by a more overtly stirring Oscar-nominated effort by Louis Gruenberg and an uncredited John Leipold.
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