“These men and women are the backbone of nations, the stuff of human destiny — simple, working people, such as there are the world over, in all countries, and in all times.”
An idealistic young man (Michael Redgrave) from a Welsh mining town hopes to return with a university degree and improve conditions for the miners. His plans are disrupted, however, when he marries a socially ambitious woman (Margaret Lockwood) in love with his money-grubbing friend (Emlyn Williams).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Carol Reed Films
- Henpecked Husbands
- Love Triangle
- Michael Redgrave Films
- Mining Town
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this “fine, interesting, depressing” adaptation of A.J. Cronin’s novel is “generally regarded as the first British film with social relevance.” Director Carol Reed does an excellent job showing “the contempt rich owners have for their underpaid employees and the distrust labor has for its union leaders”; unfortunately, however, this powerful narrative thread is done in by Redgrave’s romance with the insufferable Lockwood, who has zero redeeming qualities. It’s literally painful to watch the likable yet horribly naive Redgrave cuckolded by his wife — especially since his distraction from his noble goals has grave consequences for the entire mining town. Although I admire The Stars Look Down, it’s not a film I’m eager to revisit.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A gritty, realistic look at life in a Welsh mining town
- One of the first British films to deal seriously with a socially meaningful issue
Yes, simply for its historical importance.
- Historically Relevant
- Important Director