In a peaceful Ukrainian village, the school year is just ending in June 1941. Five young friends set out for a walking trip to Kiev, but their travels are brutally interrupted when they are suddenly attacked by German planes, in the first wave of the Nazi assault on the Soviet Union. When the village itself is attacked and occupied, most of the men flee to the hills to form a guerrilla unit. The others resist the Nazis as well as possible, but soon the village is placed under the command of a Nazi doctor who begins using the town's children as a source of constant blood transfusions for wounded German soldiers. Meanwhile, the small group of young persons tries desperately to take a supply of firearms to the guerrillas. Written by
This is a unique film and you may never see another quite like it!
What a surprise this film was! A film made in America about a small Russian village that stands up and fights the Germans who invade seems rather unique to me. It may not win any awards for recreating a Russian village or impeccably portraying the Russian culture or people but this movie succeeds in the most important area for a film: it gets the story across and it pulls you into the lives of the characters. There certainly can't be very many films like this one. I have to admit, "The North Star" takes a few minutes to get rolling. The cinematography was great from the beginning, but the story lags during the first half hour to forty five minutes of the film and is mired down a bit by portraying the villagers as so sappy and sweet that they seem to have stepped off the stage of a dreamlike 1940's Hollywood musical. Fortunately, the director, the screenwriter or somebody woke up and realized that this film had potential, and boy does it take off! This movie shifts gears from sappy drivel to life and death matters and the characters seem to come to life. The Germans rolling into their village are no laughing matter, and it is a fight to the death! This movie seems to have Part I which could be called ignorance is bliss and Part II which could be called the real story begins. Perhaps the actors revolted against the director! Part II was a revelation. What the Germans do to the children in the village is enough to make anyone mad enough to fight and I found myself rooting wholeheartedly for the Russians resisting the brutality of the Germans. There are some strong performances in this film by some of the most talented actors of the 1940's. Ann Baxter, Dana Andrews, Walter Huston, Walter Brennan, Jane Withers, Farley Granger and Erich von Stroeheim all give performances that had my attention glued to the screen. I was absolutely amazed and thrilled to find all of these movie legends in one film. Don't miss this one of a kind story. You may never see a movie quite like it anywhere else. I give it an 86/100.
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