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It Happened One Night (1958)

I slik en natt (original title)
Based on a true story this almost documentary-like drama tells the story of a young woman doctor who in 1942, helped several Jewish children escape for the border to neutral Sweden. Not ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Anne-Lise Tangstad ... Liv Kraft
Joachim Holst-Jensen ... Goggen (as J. Holst Jensen)
Lalla Carlsen ... Maren
Günther Hüttmann ... von Feldhofen
Ottokar Panning ... Col. Kranz, SS
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hilde Brenni ... Resistance contact
Victor Deloya ... Doctor Lehmann
Stig Egede-Nissen ... The janitor
Knut M. Hansson ... SS-officer
Øivind Johnssen ... Bus driver's brother
Willy Kramer Johansen ... A doctor
Erling Lindahl ... Examinator
Jon Lennart Mjøen ... SS-officer
Arve Opsahl ... Policeman
Edith Ottosen ... The informer


Based on a true story this almost documentary-like drama tells the story of a young woman doctor who in 1942, helped several Jewish children escape for the border to neutral Sweden. Not knowing who to trust and chased by the germans, the flight quickly turns into a tense fight for their life. Written by Mike Patton <film@start.no>

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Drama | History | Thriller | War


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Release Date:

23 January 1958 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

It Happened One Night  »

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The soundtrack consists only of music by Ludwig Van Beethoven (arranged and adapted for the movie by Øivin Fjelstad). See more »

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User Reviews

Deserves more acclaim
29 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

"I slik en natt" (roughly meaning "On a night like this") starts of on that gloomy night in 1942 when the Germans occupying Norway started to round up every Norwegian Jew for deportation to Germany (many of whom died a grim death at Auschwitz-Birkenau).

It is based on the true story of a group of Jewish children at an orphanage in Oslo and several "good Norwegians" (a term used during the war to describe Norwegians who didn't support the nazis) who risked their lives to help them escape to neutral Sweden. Oddly enough, despite receiving good reviews on its release in 1958 "I slik en natt" has largely fallen in the shadows of more popular Norwegian WW2-movies, despite the very engaging theme of innocent children literally running for their lives.

The 1950's was a decade filled with dramatizations of true or fictitious stories from Nazi occupied Norway. It began in the late 40's with the intense and realistic "Kampen om tungtvannet" (1948, the same story covered with Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris in 1965's "The Heroes of Telemark") and continued through the 50's with movies like "Nødlanding" (1952), "Shetlandsgjengen" (1954), "Blodveien" (1955) and the granddaddy of all Norwegian WW2-movies: Academy Award nominated "Ni liv" (1957). Impressively enough every Norwegian WW2-movie seemed to represent the best in Norwegian film production. I don't know whether it was the theme that helped the different filmmakers strike gold or what but they were all considered above-average as far as Norwegian movies are concerned.

Then we come to 1958 and the movie "I slik en natt". Maybe it drowned in the publicity and the international success of "Ni liv", I don't know, but to regular audiences it seems somewhat forgotten, which is highly regrettable. Ok, this is no "Diary of Anne Frank" or "Stalag 17" but when the story concerns helping 10 innocent children aged 4 to 14 escape the incomprehensible Nazi act of deportation to almost certain death, the movie all-ready has a lot going for it. At the time Norwegian Jews and non-Jews had trouble comprehending the fact that the Germans actually were arresting people solely based on their heritage. Everyone knew about the treatment of Jews in Germany and Poland but in Norway the Germans had actually treated them about the same as non-Jews. They weren't made to wear the star of David, they weren't forced to live in ghettoes, they were given the same rations of food as any other Norwegian, there were no laws stopping them from using non-Jewish shops and so on. In fact until 1942 Norwegian Jews could even immigrate to neutral Sweden legally! Yet they stayed behind, fearing no more from the Germans than a non-Jewish Norwegian would (Norway was occupied on April 9th 1940).

The movie touches faintly on this problem, and the reactions from the so-called "good Norwegians" when they realize that holocaust has come to Norway. Even the film's high-ranking German officer remarks several times how crazy the war has become, now that they are going after children. It would however serve the movie better had they taken a deeper look at the trauma of the Jew-deportation.

The movie has a wonderful middle-part when the children are hiding out at the mansion of an old composer and his not-so-much-younger maid, both wonderfully portrayed by veterans Joachim Holst-Jensen and Lalla Carlsen (the Queen of Norwegian revue theatre). It is here where the movie comes up with some of it's more memorable set-pieces, such as the scene when, during an air-raid, they hide out in the basement except for the old man who is tired of sitting in the cold cellar, so he sits at the piano in the living-room playing a nursery rhyme for the kids who are singing in the basement, while the bombs are falling a few miles away. A very young Anne-Lise Tangstad also deserves mention in the lead, for her solid portrayal of the doctor who turns her life around to help the children (believe it or not she was only 22 at the time). One could wish that the children delivered better acting, but it was 1958 and Norwegian film directors weren't exactly famous for churning out memorable acting performances from kids (unless the director was Arne Skouen).

As a whole "I slik en natt" deserves praise, especially for painting an eerie picture of Nazi-occupied Oslo like no other Norwegian film has ever done.

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