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Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942)

Paul Muni , Anna Lee , John Farrow  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Muni, Anna Lee, Lillian Gish, Cedric Hardwicke, Ray Collins
  • Directors: John Farrow
  • Writers: C.S. Forester, Irwin Shaw
  • Producers: Lester Cowan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Japanese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 13, 2003
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008R9M4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,936 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Commandos Strike at Dawn" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Oscar(r) - winner Paul Muni (1936 Best Actor, The Story of Louis Pasteur) gives a dynamic performancein ths dramatic World War II story that also stars Academy Award(r) - winner Lillian Gish (1971 Honorary Award), Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Anna Lee. Muni plays Erik Toresen, a simple Norwegian fishermanwho finds his quiet coastal village shattered by the Nazi invasion. Untrained in the ways of war, the villagers use only their cold, sullen hatred as defense. But when an elder member of the village community is maimed and tortured, Muni mobilizes the villagers and trains them to fight. Eventually discovered by the Germans, Muni and four others escape to England to lead British troops against theGermans, who intend to attack the Arctic supply lines.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Commandos Strike at Dawn May 30, 2005
Hollywood's first reaction to the United States' entry into World War II usually took one of two forms. In the Pacific Theater the movie typically chronicled a valiant, but doomed, defense. Wake Island and Bataan were popular movies of early defeat. When Hollywood turned its attention to the European Theater its early movies celebrated indigenous resistance against Nazism by the intrepid citizens of nations like Czechoslovakia, or, in the case of COMMANDOS STRIKE AT DAWN, Norway.

Paul Muni stars as Eric Toresen, a soft-spoken, pacifistic civil servant whose initial response to the German occupation of the small town he lives in is rather detached. "We civilians," he explains, haven't a right to interfere and oppose the military occupation. "This is not exactly our line." Of course, the occupiers are busy rounding up suspected subversives, imposing their doctrine in the local schools, and confiscating personal property for use in the Fatherland. Before long Toresen realizes that `we must learn from them to become gangsters and thugs.' When Toresen discovers a military airfield being built nearby, he plans to sail to England and organize a commando force to destroy it before it becomes operational.

Muni gives a typically good, understated performance as a gentle man caught in vicious times. Although it contains a quisling or two, COMMANDOS STRIKE AT DAWN fulfills its purpose - explaining to Americans why we fight and generally ennobling the heroic freedom fighters in Nazi occupied Europe. A strong recommendation for this early entry in World War II movies.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars this movie was made in 1942 off Vancouver Island March 18, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie was made in 1942, and made use of the HMCS Prince David which was on leave from thrashing around in the Aleutians looking for the Japanese. My father was an officer on that ship at the time, and thoroughly enjoyed the cast, especially Sir Cecil Hardwicke. I've watched the movie, and of course it is propaganda, it was made in 1942. That is part of its charm. Remember that at the time, no one knew who would win the war. Vancouver Island makes a good stand in for Norway, and Paul Muni is some brave! It is superior propaganda and a fun experience.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Muni, WWII & Tommy-Guns; what more could you want! December 19, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This WWII film does have a certain aspect of propaganda to it, but the tense storyline is riveting and will keep you glued to your chair until the last scene (which isn't exactly what you'll be expecting). Muni puts in a fine performance, as always. Overall, an enjoyable war drama.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good kind of war propaganda--lessons kids should know December 26, 2005
As a dad, I found this film, though dated and quaint, both a stirring old war movie that boys will like as well as a good opportunity to teach some strategic realities. There are bad people in the world, they make promises and break them and they strive to enslave good people; for the sake of civilization good people often need to do otherwise bad things like fight and even kill. Rough stuff, but this is the fallen nature of this world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted but overlong wartime morale-booster November 6, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
With a story by Hornblower creator C.S. Forrester and a screenplay by future doorstop novelist Irwin Shaw, 1942's Commandos Strike at Dawn is a solid but overlong wartime propaganda picture that benefits from a good location (Canada standing in for Norway, giving it a similar feel to parts of 49th Parallel), a strong cast (an understated Paul Muni, Ray Collins, Lillian Gish, Cedric Hardwicke and the ever likeable Robert Coote among them, while Alexander Knox does double duty as a cold Nazi and the voice of the commandos' padre delivering a pre-raid sermon) but ultimately just takes too long to get where its going. Certainly the commando raid itself is a long time coming and not particularly excitingly mounted despite obvious extensive cooperation from the Canadian armed forces, although the last few minutes are almost staged as a pure western with commandos and Nazis instead of cowboys and Indians. En route it understandably overplays the acts resistance for morale-boosting purposes, but it the first half is elevated by some of the always-undervalued director John Farrow's typically complicated but unostentatious long tracking shots. For classical music buffs, Igor Stravinsky's Four Norwegian Moods was based on his rejected score for the film, replaced here by a more overtly stirring Oscar-nominated effort by Louis Gruenberg and an uncredited John Leipold.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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This is a very realistic happening. A reasionably small village , reacts to the terror of Nazi occupation. The honest peaceful town folk, react in ways that seem so very real and appropiate. In trying to succede in ridding themselves of the horrors of the INVADERS. I can understand how alone and helpless some could feel in an almost hopeless situation. This is in my opinion an excellent viewing. Makes me think , (what would I be willing to do) to save my self and others and the whole town.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great example of WWII era War Movie Production December 15, 2009
By Arthur
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Made in the 1940's while WWII was still happening, this movie is very typical of the ones made during that time period. One part love story, one part actioneer, and one part propaganda they all start out with a peaceful life that is interrupted by the bad Axis guys. (in this case the Nazis). When pushed to far, everyone fights back and it builds up to a climactic end. Always ending on a note of hope because no one really knew how the war would end at that time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good war movie set in Norway
The first 80 percent of the movie is great: good story, good actors, well filmed, etc. The action at the end could have been more gripping. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Diogenes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very entertaining.
Published 3 months ago by Lewis A. Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Good WWII film.
Must have been a hard film to make at that time. Helps to clarify the dedication of the freedom - fighters.
Published 9 months ago by Larry Burson
5.0 out of 5 stars OK Movie
It's a movie. Nothing on the level of Ben-Hur but good anyways.
This reveiw process wants twenty wors or more.
Published 9 months ago by GeoP
5.0 out of 5 stars Commandos Strike at Dawn
This World War II movie is worthy of a viewers time, attention and purchase. All too often, it remains
an overlooked fact Scandinavian Countries were occupied by the Nazis -... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Gary W. Phelps
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough Commando action!
From 1942: This is mainly about a Norwegian citizen, and his grave misgivings toward the German occupation of his homeland, early in World War 2. Read more
Published 16 months ago by ThorBjorn
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie DVD Commandos Strike AT Dawn
The Movie DVD that I ordered was recd. on time , and the exact one that I wanted. The packaging was in tact and undamaged . The DVD was in the original case and cover. Read more
Published 17 months ago by mercbill
4.0 out of 5 stars Glad you missed World War 11
It us interesting to here the word Propaganda tossed around by a bunch of folks that were not even born in 1942
Had no experience of the trauma occurring then and the lives... Read more
Published on August 15, 2012 by LOUIS SISBARRO
5.0 out of 5 stars A family favorite
This is a family favorite because some of it was filmed in the British Columbia "fiords". My Uncle's Canadian Navy ship was used and my uncle has a brief speaking part. Read more
Published on July 13, 2011 by Sheila
3.0 out of 5 stars Unconventional Tactics
Commandos Strike at Dawn, 1942 film

This movie is dedicated to the soldiers of Canada, Great Britain, and Norway. The story begins at a rural village in Norway. Read more
Published on June 2, 2011 by Acute Observer
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