North Star, The

460. THE NORTH STAR (1943-usA). WITH anne baxter, dana Andrews, walter huston, erich VON STROHEiM, WALTER BRENNAN, FARLEY GRANGER, ANN HARDING, JANE WITHERS, DEAN JAGGER. Music by AARON COPLAND, Lyrics by IRA GERSHWIN. Original story and screenplay by LILLIAN HELLMAN. Produced by SAM GOLDWYN. Associate producer WILLIAM CAMERONMENZIES. Directed by LEWIS MILESTONE. To get some idea Of this movie’s quality, just read the credits. A first-rate World War II drama, paying tribute to the courageous Russian people, who Of course were our allies way back when. Lillian Hellman’s stirring script focuses on a small village, which is enjoying the last days Of peace in the summer Of 1941. There’s plenty Of singing and dancing (music by Aaron Copland, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, yet, amazingly, the songs seem authentically Russian!), and dreaming Of a happy future. But the evil Nazis invade the Soviet Union, throwing the town into turmoil. Some Of the people become freedom-fighting guerillas, others openly make life difficult for the occupying forces. The village doctor (Walter Huston) clashes with his Nazi counterpart (Erich Von Stroheim), who bleeds children to death to provide blood for wounded Germans. Meanwhile, a group Of brave youngsters risk their lives to deliver weapons to the resistance forces. The battle scenes are brilliantly directed by Lewis Milestone, a master Of the war movie (All Quiet on the Western Front). JAMES WONG HOWE provides beautifully composed portraits Of the heroic people; and the finale is a moving hymn to resistance: “We’ll make a free world, for all men. The earth belongs to us-the people- if we fight for it. And we will fight for it!” Excellent acting by an all-star ensemble, although it may take you sometime to accept Walter Brennan and the others as RUssian peasants. Goldwyn made this movie as a patriotic duty, yet ironically it would later be used as a prime example Of alleged Communist subversion Of Hollywood. Hellman was blackÂlisted, Goldwyn removed his name from the film, and a shortened version, toning down much Of the pro-Russian sentiment, was released under the title Armored Attack. The uncut original, despite whatever na•vetŽ one might find in it, is a superb piece Of moviemaking. Nominated for six Academy Awards. 108 minutes. Drama