Commandos Strike At Dawn
Where did this movie come from anyway? An American civilian leads a team of British commandos against a Nazi stronghold in Norway? In 1942, America had hardly entered the war against the Japs, let alone joined in the fight against the Nazis. Yet Hollywood produced this thrilling, inspiring , sensitive tale of Norwegian resistance under the exploitive title, Commandos Strike At Dawn. And the movie, directed by John Farrow and starring Paul Muni and Lillian Gish, with a screenplay by Irwin Shaw and based on a story by CS Forrester, is right up there with Roberto Rosellinni’s Paisan as a masterpiece of anti- Nazi resistance. it is nothing like the corny pro-american world war two films that were produced in 1943, when the United States expanded their military involvement to add Germany to the list of enemies, ten years after the rise of Hitler. The only directors in Hollywood who came close to making such superior films about the war against Hitler were Fritz Lang with hangmen Also Die and Alfred Hitchcock with Lifeboat. But these films didn’t come along until 1943, and both were made by immigrants John Farrow, although Australian by birth, found his career in the movies in Hollywood, and in this same year, 1942, directed another excellent war film, Wake Island, which focused on the American victories against the Japanese in the Pacific. Both films are of lasting value, but Commandos Strike at Dawn belongs in the hallowed hall of masterpieces.
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