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
Original on-screen end credits erroneously reverse the roles of Robert Lowery and Gene O'Donnell. Actually, Lowery played the pilot and O'Donnell played the gunner. See more »
As the group of children leaves town for Kiev, they are shown walking past the same house twice in succession. See more »
Iakin, bearded schoolmaster:
It is not my custom to start your vacation with a lecture, but this is the summer of 1941 - a solemn time. No one of knows what will happen. I don't have to remind you that we are people with a noble history. You are expected to carry on that history with complete devotion and self-sacrifice. I think you'll do that. And now, have a happy summer.
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Patriotic Hollywood movie about a Soviet Union village invaded by Nazis
The picture is set during Nazi invasion, on June 22, 1941, the Fuehrer sent his war machine crashing across the frontiers of the USSR , unleashing a furious Bltzkrieg. The Fuehrer,-known his hatred for Bolshevism-, described the assault on Russia as a crusade against communism, but he obviously was motived by a need for wheat, oil, and mineral supplies to enable him to defy the British blockade. This is flag-waving and propaganda film but at the time US and USSR were allied, it deals about an idyllic Soviet village. The first part describes life of a little town, a pacific village with good people, singing, dancing and living happily. When Nokya(Dana Andrews) and young villagers(Anne Baxter, Farley Granger, Jane Withers) go to Kiev are picked up by an old countryman(Walter Brennan). While they're singing and amusing themselves, then happen a Nazi invasion and they're bombed.The second part is quite starkly moving developing account of deeds that befall about the villagers and when they go into action.
The interesting film is a gripping war story with valiant villagers facing on Nazis.This unnerving epic depicts the horror war as Nazi atrocities and as the resistance fighters roam the Russian countryside attacking during the invasion. Although melodramatic moments in overall effects, also has moments of astounding power with some overwhelming sequences. Thought-provoking screenplay amid much feuding writer Lillian Hellman and producer/director , and Hellman told her disappointment on the adaptation. The credits are extraordinaries, prestigious actors, Walter Huston as the village medic, Dana Andrews, Farley Granger in his first role along with Anne Baxter, Erich Von Stroheim as usual official Nazi, Dean Jagger, among them.Cinematography supplied by the master James Wong Howe and score by the classic Aaron Copland with lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
The motion picture is well directed by Lewis Milestone, he was born in the Ukraine(where is set the movie), but emigrated to America at 18 and he served in WWI. He often made chronicles of wartime conflicts and persisted in showing horror war from the point of view of the ordinary soldier. As he showed WWI(All quiet on the western front), WWII(A walk in the sun,Purple heart, Halls of Motzuma,Edge and darkness) and Korean war(Pork Chop Hill); and directed several other excellent movies in different fields, drama(Of mice and men, Strange love of Martha Ivers), adventures(Mutiny on the Bounty) and heist-comedy(Ocean's eleven), among others.
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