EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|STARS LOOK DOWN, THE (director: Carol Reed; screenwriters: from the novel by A. J. Cronin/A. J. Cronin/A. Coppel; cinematographer: Ernest Palmer; editor: Reginald Beck; music: Hans May; cast: Michael Redgrave (David Fenwick), Margaret Lockwood (Jenny Sunley), Emlyn Williams (Joe Gowlan), Edward Rigby (Robert Fenwick), Nancy Price (Martha Fenwick), Allan Jeayes (Richard Barras), Cecil Parker (Mr. Millington), Linden Travers (Mrs. Laura Millington), George Carney (Slogger Gowlan), Milton Rosmer (Harry Nugent, MP), Olga Lindo (Mrs. Sunley); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Isadore Goldsmith/Maurice J. Wilson; Timeless Video; 1940-UK)|
|"The classic b/w film is rich
in detail and atmosphere of mining life."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Carol Reed ("Trapeze"/"The Third Man"/"Odd Man Out")
directs this gripping but dated and dour 'kitchen sink' melodrama about
the daily rigors of being a miner in northern England. It was shot
in Northumberland. A. J. Cronin adapts the screenplay from his
own popular novel.
Davey Fenwick (Michael Redgrave) is
the idealistic son of a hard-working miner (Edward Rigby) and a stoical
mom (Nancy Price), whose academic
ability wins him a college scholarship and a way out of the mines. The
lad views this as a chance to help his dad and the other miners by
fighting politically as an MP for their cause. But before he can
complete college in the town of Tynecastle and fight to
improve the lot of the Sleescale people, a slippery ex-working-class
pal of his, Joe Gowlan (Emlyn Williams), who looted a butcher shop
during a strike in his hometown and with the stolen money became an
enterprising bookie, is now residing in Tynecastle. The untrustworthy
Joe palms off on the unworldly Davey his pretty but bad character,
cheap, bimbo, opportunistic, materialistic girlfriend Jenny (Margaret
Lockwood). When the double-dealing Joe dumps the crass Jenny, who loves
only Joe, she rebounds to get her hooks into Davey and manipulates him
to quit college to marry her. The result is an unhappy marriage with
Davey back home in poverty-stricken Sleescale struggling to get by
teaching the elementary school children of the miners and feeling like
a loser, while studying at night to complete his degree. Meanwhile his
lazy wife loafs and nags him. Jenny's old flame Joe returns to the
mining town with a luxury car and schemes a secret deal with the
wealthy mining boss (Allan Jeayes), that betrays his former
working-class pals by getting them to work with the union's permission
Flats--where on the other side of that coal seam is a million tons of
to rush right down the mine shaft. Davey finally gets it that his
wife doesn't love him and always loved Joe. He also realizes that Davey
has cooked up something dangerous for the miners so that he can profit
from their dangerous labor. When Davey's warnings to the union leaders
about poor working conditions in Scupper
Flats goes unheeded, it leads to a mine disaster that has Davey's
father and several other workers killed when trapped in the mine.
The classic b/w film is rich in
detail and atmosphere of mining life.
REVIEWED ON 3/3/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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