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The Stars Look Down [DVD]

Michael Redgrave , Margaret Lockwood , Carol Reed    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Redgrave, Margaret Lockwood, Emlyn Williams, Edward Rigby, Nancy Price
  • Directors: Carol Reed
  • Producers: Isadore Goldsmith
  • Format: Black & White, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jun 2003
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009PAXY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,760 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Davey Fenwick leaves his mining village on a university scholarship intent on returning to better support the miners against the owners. But he falls in love with Jenny who gets him to marry her and return home as local schoolteacher before finishing his degree. Davey finds he is ill-at-ease in his role, the more so when he realises Jenny still loves her former boyfriend. When he finds that his father and the other miners are going to have to continue working on a possibly deadly coal seam he decides to act.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, timeless masterpiece 27 Feb 2005
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Carol Reed's gritty, unrelenting adaptation of A.J. Cronin's novel of the same name is a stark depiction of poverty, hardship, greed and frustrated ambition which has an enduring resonance belying the fact that it was made over sixty years ago.
Michael Redgrave plays Davey Fenwick, an intelligent young man from a poor mining community in the North East of England, who wins a scholarship to study at university in nearby Tynecastle. He dreams of entering politics after graduation and working to end the suffering of the mineworkers and their families, eternal victims of a rampant, compassionless capitalism.
However, his life takes a different turn when he meets and falls in love with Jenny Sunley (played by Margaret Lockwood), a divinely pretty but self-centred, materialistic and manipulative little minx who has just been dumped by her boyfriend, Davey's lifelong friend, the ruthlessly ambitious Joe Gowlan (Emlyn Williams). Davey leaves college, marries Jenny and moves back home to work as a schoolmaster. But things get complicated when trouble at the pit, Jenny's growing restlessness and Joe's reappearance combine to turn Davey's life upside down.
When it was made, this was one of the most expensive films ever produced in Britain and it was money well spent. It cemented Carol Reed's reputation as a first rate director and presented a grimly authentic portrayal of inter-war working class life both to film audiences of the time and to posterity.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, but corrupt edition 18 Mar 2007
Having last seen The Stars Look Down about twenty years ago, I am relying on memory here, but this is definitely not Reed's original cut. A clue may be found beneath the credits on the back cover, where is printed "USA 1957" (the movie was made in England in 1939), making this likely a reedited cut for stateside re-release.

The changes are not to the good. The final scene with Nancy Price and Michael Redgrave is gone, replaced by some highfalutin narration from Lionel Barrymore over a shot of storm clouds (he intones as well over the opening shots of the miners, doing similar damage to Reed's conception and the film's tone). Also, though I am not so certain about this, there may have been more scenes involving the Millingtons, a married couple played by Linden Travers and Cecil Parker, with implications of an affair between Mrs. Millington and Joe Gowlan.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, but not the whole book 17 Mar 2004
The whole story of this AJ Cronin novel is long and complicated. This film homes in on the miners' struggle and the gamble that the mineowner takes on excavating a potentially dangerous seam, with some zooming in on one character and his way through life (it's disappointing - his life, I mean).
That may seem dispiriting, but I have to say that the treatment is brilliant and very well done. Just one (quite big) niggle - the film/novel is set in the NorthEast(Geordieland) and therefore the actors should have Geordie accents. Sadly, RADA wasn't up to this in the 1950s , so the accents vary from pseudo-Welsh to ppseudo-Northern. Nary a Geordie in hearing! But the treatment is very sympathetic, as you might expect from an early Carol Reed film. Brill.And it's not even very expensive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars stars look down 20 Jan 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Stars Look Down [DVD] [1939]

The attraction of this film is its two principals, Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. However the theme is a typically British class conflict of the "trouble down pit" variety showing how bad things apparently were for the workers in the 1930s. The film is dimly lit and rather grim in most respects; it contains more misery than uplift. It is definitely best seen by old class warriors.
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