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The North Star (1943)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, War | 4 March 1944 (Mexico)
A Ukrainian village must suddenly contend with the Nazi invasion of June 1941.

Director:

Lewis Milestone

Writers:

Lillian Hellman (original story), Lillian Hellman (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Baxter ... Marina Pavlov
Dana Andrews ... Kolya Simonov
Walter Huston ... Dr. Kurin
Walter Brennan ... Karp
Ann Harding ... Sophia Pavlov
Jane Withers ... Clavdia Kurin
Farley Granger ... Damian Simonov
Erich von Stroheim ... Dr. von Harden
Dean Jagger ... Rodion Pavlov
Eric Roberts ... Grisha Kurin
Carl Benton Reid ... Boris Simonov
Ann Carter ... Olga Pavlov
Esther Dale ... Anna Kurin
Ruth Nelson ... Nadya Simonov
Paul Guilfoyle ... Iakin
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Storyline

It's June, 1941 in a farming cooperative in the Soviet Socialist Republic of the Ukraine. Although the citizens of the cooperative hear about the atrocities of the war on their radios, they are on the most part not yet directly affected by it. It's the end of the school year, and some of the older youth are excited about their futures. Beyond that, a small group of those youths are looking most forward to their imminent vacation to Kiev, where they are planning to hike for the four or five days it takes to get there above their planned three days in the city itself. They include: Damian Terasa Simonov, who finished top of his class including getting a scholarship to study at the State University of Kiev in the fall; his girlfriend, Marina Pavlov, the two who will be separated for the year as she finishes her schooling and who plan eventually to reunite in Kiev not only for Marina to go to university as well but for the two to get married; Kolya Simonov, Damian's older, more worldly ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A ROLLING WALL OF HELL THAT COULDN'T BE STOPPED... A HANDFUL OF MEN WHO HAD TO STOP IT! (rerelease title card all-caps0 See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Russian

Release Date:

4 March 1944 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Armored Attack! See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-edited) (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The earliest documented telecast of this film occurred Monday 7 January 1946 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). This would have been the original, uncut, unmutilated version that was soon to be locked up by the House Committee on Unamerican Activities (HUAC), and not resurrected in its entirety until many decades later. See more »

Goofs

As the group of children leaves town for Kiev, they are shown walking past the same house twice in succession. See more »

Quotes

Dr. von Harden: [while Dr. Kurin is holding a gun on Richter and von Harden] I do not like much of what I've done for the past nine years.
Dr. Pavel Grigorich Kurin: [after von Harden has given a blood transfusion from a Russian child to a German soldier] You do not like bleeding children?
Dr. von Harden: Did the boy die?
Dr. Pavel Grigorich Kurin: [Contemtuously] You knew he would die!
Dr. von Harden: They took too much blood. I'm sorry for that.
Dr. Pavel Grigorich Kurin: Yes, I nelieve you when you say you are sorry.
Dr. von Harden: I'm sorry for many things, Dr. Kurin. Most of all that this is not the world we used to know.
Dr. Pavel Grigorich Kurin: I've heard ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1956, the film was sold to television and re-edited under the title "Armored Attack." 25 minutes were removed, including all references to the word "comrade," and with the help of voice-over narrations, turned the alleged pro-Communist piece into anti-Communist territory. See more »

Connections

Featured in Sprockets: Masters of Menace (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

No Village Like Mine
(uncredited)
Music by Aaron Copland
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
See more »

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User Reviews

Pretty Interesting, for A New Set Of Reasons Now
29 December 2005 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

In its time, this probably fulfilled its desired purpose reasonably well, with a fine cast and some effective scenes depicting the suffering caused by Nazi troops. It is probably more interesting now, when it can be viewed with more objectivity, and when it is interesting for a new set of reasons. Its depiction of life in the Soviet Union is a revealing statement about the priorities of its time. The actual movie and story, viewed apart from any and all political issues, work quite well at times, while falling short at others.

The first part of the story simply dwells on the daily lives of the residents of a Ukrainian farm town. This part is quite slow, and would be of little interest except for the sharp change of tone that comes with the Nazi attack. As banal as the lives of the villagers may have seemed, they certainly did nothing to deserve the suffering they bore as a result of the invasion. Things pick up dramatically in the second part, and at the same time the characters come more sharply into focus.

Naturally, the scenario is more fiction than fact, especially in its idyllic depiction of life under Stalin's rule. More than anything else, this reflects the urgent desire of the US Government (whose hand was supposedly quite active in the production) to promote full-fledged public support for working with the Soviet Union against the Axis. Like the majority of features in any era that address a then-contemporary issue, it looks much different when viewed years afterward. The truth about both Stalin and Hitler is much easier for us now to determine than it was for the movie's original viewers.

The cast helps considerably in making it work on a dramatic level. Experienced stars like Walter Huston and Walter Brennan combine with then-young performers like Anne Baxter, Farley Granger, and others to create a generally interesting set of characters. Jane Withers also has a good role, as a hapless but often endearing young woman who is desperate to help. Lillian Hellman brought her considerable reputation to the screenplay, although this kind of material is not really her strength. Lewis Milestone shows his steady hand in the battle sequences.

Because the cast, director, and writer all add their weight to the production, this works well enough as a fictional drama as long as you set aside what you thought or think about the USSR. As history, the story is not reliable, but the movie itself is interesting as one of the more earnest attempts of its day to use cinema to influence public opinion.


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