In a typical American Midwestern city, Hartfield, Iowa, Lew Marsh (Don Ameche) is the owner of a drugstore. Everyone knows Lew and knew his grandfather, old "Gramp" Marsh (Harry Carey), who... See full summary »
An American World War I soldier, whose disfigured face is reconstructed by Austrian plastic surgeons, returns home after twenty years, but no one recognizes him, his widow is married to another man, and his son is a grown young man.
A bookish historian is married to a steely Southern belle who raises horses, an animal that he doesn't care for. However, the cute young neighbor girl doesn't feel that way about him and makes no bones about letting him know it.
Six-year-old Jenny rescues a collie dog, the only survivor of a plane wreck. A tag on the dog's neck states that it is en route to a medical laboratory where its blood will be used for ... See full summary »
A group of French soldiers during WWII are captured by Nazis troops and sent to a military prison. There they will have to make use of his best resources to keep alive... and sane, while at the same time scheming a way out.
Outcast Benny Martin joined the army to escape public scorn. But when the townspeople learn that he is to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, they pretend that he and his family are cherished, eminent citizens.
Arturo de Córdova,
J. Carrol Naish
Widowed Old Man Matthews, who has lived his entire life as a farmer, has moved his family of himself and his four young adult to adolescent offspring - Deborah, Phineas, Abigail and Susan -... See full summary »
William D. Russell
In 1936, seven prisoners escape from a concentration camp. Nazis put up seven crosses for demonstrative executions. The story focuses on one of the fugitives, who relies on own courage and compassion of people to avoid the seventh cross.
When the Germans invade Norway their Commandant and the town Mayor confront each other, attempting to maintain civility as far as possible. When the army tries to orgnanize townspeople to work for them sabotage which is at first humorous turns serious, resulting in death on both sides.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The German occupation of Norway began with the invasion on April 9, 1940, and lasted to the end of the war in May, 1945. The size of the occupation force was immense--upward of 300,000 troops, or the equivalent of about 20 army divisions, enough for one soldier for every seven to eight Norwegian citizens. See more »
Most of the German soldiers are wearing WWI-style Stahlhelm helmets, not the WWII version used from 1935 on. Also, paratroopers (Fallschirmjagers) are shown, but none of the German troops are wearing their helmet - without the projecting visor and flared rim. See more »
Powerful story of humans versus governments and war
"Haven't we some little right to life?"
To that question by one of the characters in the Nazi-conquered Norwegian town, actually, no, not when governments say "Fight. Destroy. Kill."
When governments say "You must have a number" and "You must carry this card embossed with that number" or "You must wear this uniform" and "You must kill that other human being," you are being considered as property, and that means you no longer have rights.
At least that is how governments want you to believe.
You are expected to obey, not think. Obey, not have desires of your own. You are a cog in the great machinery of the state.
"The Moon Is Down" was intended specifically as anti-Nazi propaganda, coming as it did shortly after the United States entered World War II, but there is a deeper and more universal meaning.
Even Nazis, or at least German soldiers lured or forced into war by German leaders of the National Socialist German Workers Party, or Nazis, have some vestiges of humanity -- at least some of them.
Told their lives belong to the state, to the fatherland, and that they must act, even die, for purposes of the Master Race, and not to think of or for themselves, still sometimes selfish desires rise to the fore, and such basics as love or freedom motivate more than do orders.
Death and destruction are inevitable results of the subordination of individuals and individuality to the state, to the society, to the race.
Humanity's bloodiest century, the twentieth, proved the truth of that statement with the rise of Nazism and Communism, both of which demanded the submersion of individuals into the mass.
When individual humans no longer matter, mass murders become mere matters of strategy, or "the continuation of politics by other means," as von Clausewitz is quoted.
Few movies illustrate the horror and degradation of war and governments better than "The Moon Is Down," which was presented on Turner Classic Movies the night of 2 January 2017. I had read the John Steinbeck book decades ago and not appreciated that message, not even seen it, that early in my life.
Now, though, after long years lived with the threat of war or some act of tyranny hanging over me nearly every day of that time, I do appreciate the tale and its moral, or at least the moral I now see.
Steinbeck wrote this, a good summation of the meaning of "The Moon Is Down": "Free men cannot start a war, but once it is started, they can fight on in defeat. Herd men, followers of a leader, cannot do that, and so it is always the herd men who win battles and the free men who win wars."
We are engaged on a daily basis in an ongoing war of individualism versus a leader, versus the mob, versus the collective, versus the state, or, especially these last few decades, versus a murderous and destructive movement some try to call a religion.
I would like to recommend "The Moon Is Down" in both book and movie form, not for entertainment, since there is no joy or pleasure in either, but for the object lesson: Do not let politicians and governments control your life.
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