The second of re-known Norwegian classic filmmaker Arne Schouen's movies, from 1952, three years after his debut breakthrough, Gategutter. It's his first of four war time movies. At the release in 1952 the critics where very positive, claiming that Schouen was what Norwegian film-industry needed. Though some means it was too lighthearted and entertaining, while telling a war history. Today this critic sounds silly, but remember this was only 7 years after a five yearlong run of Nazi occupation.
The film was picked for the main competition at the Cannes film festival, which also the 5 years later release Ni liv (Nine lives) which was quite recently voted the best Norwegian film ever. Schouen 17 films in a 20 year long run, all of them critically well received, and became one of Norways most known filmmakers.
The film tells the story about an American bomber airplane being shot down during the 2nd world war, and where the locals are then starting to hide the surviving wounded soldiers from the German occupants in the old local church tower. That's until a newcomer playing the church organ which turns out to be a snitch starts sneaking around and tells. We're following the struggle to get them transported over to neutral Sweden.
The film starts right off with the plane crashing in the Oslo fjord, and you're drawn immediately into the story, which is both exciting and action filled. It's not high budget movie, but well handed by Schouen. It comes out as a typical black and white movie, but more with a pre-war feel too it. It was a Greta box office hit at the cinemas in Norway, and was also released in a lot of other countries.
Henki Kolstad does a decent job as the main Norwegian character. He was the most popular actor in Norway in the fifties, And this might be the least appreciated of the lot. It's even from the year Kolstad directed his only movie, the comedy Det kunne vært deg (translated: It could have been you). The rest of the cast is known domestic actors at the time.
The film comes out as a tribute to Norwegian civilian heroism and resistance, and is told very realistically, as Schouen always tried to make his films. If you like this, see also Englandsfarere By Toralf Sandø from 1946, which is based upon some of the same themes, and is a bit more exciting.
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