Review: ‘The Stars Look Down’

The Stars Look Down is a visual education on British mining. A picturization of a subject long an uncomfortable wedge in the English social-political scheme, Stars would merit laurels alone for a faithful and gripping treatment. But film goes for more; it is a splendid dramatic portrait of those who burrow for the black diamond in England's northland. Direction is of class standing and picture is mounted with exactness of detail and technique.

The Stars Look Down is a visual education on British mining. A picturization of a subject long an uncomfortable wedge in the English social-political scheme, Stars would merit laurels alone for a faithful and gripping treatment. But film goes for more; it is a splendid dramatic portrait of those who burrow for the black diamond in England’s northland. Direction is of class standing and picture is mounted with exactness of detail and technique.

Adopted from A.J. Cronin’s novel of the mining town from where two sons seek different roads to success, one returning to foster misery, the other to fight on for its alleviation, film unrolls at steady pace a wealth of dramatic incident.

There are some gaps where treatment is not on par with dramatic situation. The Emlyn Williams part, the focal point of the tragedy, is under-developed, but director Carol Reed has guided well a cast that exacts the utmost generally. Michael Redgrave, as son of the strike-leader (Williams), a ne’er-do-well, and Margaret Lockwood, as a slut, share the starring honors.

The Stars Look Down

UK

Production

Grafton/Grand National. Director Carol Reed; Producer Isadore Goldsmith; Screenplay J.B. Williams; Camera Mutz Greenbaum; Editor Reginald Beck; Art Director James Carter

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1939. Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Michael Redgrave Margaret Lockwood Emlyn Williams Nancy Price Edward Rigby Cecil Parker
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