The North Star (1943)

LEWIS MILESTONE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1943.  Screenplay by , additional dialogue in new edition by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1943

Lillian Hellman pens a tribute to the spirit of Russia suffering under Nazi atrocities during World War II, the film released while the U.S. still considered the great red nation an ally.  It’s painfully dated and corny now, a vision of village life that looks like an idyllic small American town but with the odd balalaika and floral-printed skirt. and Anne Baxter are the optimistic young lovers who go on a walking tour with friends that is interrupted by planes bombing the land and, before long, turns them into fighters with rifles in their hands.  There are some good performances and a few very well shot battle sequences thanks to having the talent of Lewis Milestone behind the camera (himself born in Russia), but the musical numbers are painfully awkward and the American cast being unable to even pronounce their own character names is tough to endure (, for god’s sake).  The film was re-released in the fifties as Armored Attack, with half an hour of footage cut out, anti-Communist narration added and all references to the characters’ nationality removed.

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