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The Emergence of an Artist

  • Robert F. Moss

Abstract

Writing in 1968, Pauline Kael observed that Carol Reed was only thirty-three when he made The Stars Look Down, and ‘he had not yet acquired the technical virtuosity of his later style, but this straightforward film may just possibly be his best’.1 Whether or not we can agree with this bold assessment, The Stars Look Down is certainly Reed’s first major film and an important cornerstone of his career. Appearing at the end of a decade of social protest, it succeeded in applying the technique and social concerns of the documentary to the feature film, which, in England, had not been much of a receptacle for political themes in the past. Reed, who was soon to make some outstanding documentaries himself, appears to have learned much from works like Grierson’s Industrial Britain (1933), Alberto Cavalcanti’s Coalface (1936) and Paul Rotha’s The Face of Britain (1939), and the lessons are reflected in Stars. An adaptation of A. J. Cronin’s 1935 novel of the same name, Stars required an expensive production that, apart from Korda’s opuses, was uncommon in England at the time. Isidore Goldsmith, an independent producer, was able to raise the then-enormous sum of £100 000, and the project went forward under the aegis of Grafton, a small production company.

Keywords

Social Protest Film Culture British Film Foreign Correspondent Major Film 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Pauline Kael, Kiss Kiss Bang Ban (New York, 1969) pp. 439–41.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Richard Whitehall, ‘The Stars Look Down’, Films and Filmin, 4 (January 1962) pp. 22–3, 45–6.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Aubrey Flanagan, ‘The Stars Look Down’, Motion Picture Heral, 27 January 1940.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Graham Greene, The Pleasure Dom, (London, 1972) p. 265.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Paul Rotha, ‘The Stars Look Down’, Documentary News Lette, no. 3 (March 1940) p. 12.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Archer Winston, ‘The Stars Look Down’, New York Pos, 24 July 1941.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Andrew Sarris, ‘Carol Reed in the Context of His Time’, Film Cultur, 2, 4 (1956) 15.Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    Michael Voigt, ‘Pictures of Innocence: Sir Carol Reed’, Focus on Film, no. 17 (Spring 1974) 21.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Otis Ferguson, ‘A Hit and a Miss’, The New Republi, 124 (13 January 1941) 54.Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    Basil Wright, ‘The Director: Carol Reed’, in The Yeas Work in Fil, ed. by Roger Manvell (London, 1950) p. 11.Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    Bosley Crowther, ‘The Girl in the News’, New York Time, 5 May 1941, p. 13.Google Scholar
  12. 26.
    Robert W. Dana, ‘Kipps’, New York Herald Tribun, 5 May 1942.Google Scholar
  13. 27.
    Irene Thirer, ‘Kipps’, New York Pos, 25 May 1942.Google Scholar
  14. 29.
    Milton Meltzer, ‘Kipps’, The Daily Worke, 25 May 1942.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert F. Moss 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert F. Moss

There are no affiliations available

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