Star in the Night,
directed by Don Siegel
(Warner Bros, 1945)

Star in the Night is one of the black-and-white classic short films that played before a main feature. This one won an Oscar.

It is a perfect example of how to produce a movie short and is beyond criticism in every area. It makes the point with no wasted energy or film. The wardrobe and sets are kept simple and the acting is dramatic and exaggerated.

Out in the desert, on Christmas Eve, three cowboys are riding along discussing how they bought out an entire store just to impress the sales girl. Now they have their horses loaded with junk and nobody to give it to. They see the brightest star ever and decide to follow it and find out what it is.

The star belongs to Nick Catapoli (J. Carrol Naish), who owns a motel, restaurant and auto center. He is working on the sign as a stranger walks up, says he is cold from hitchhiking and needs to get warm, and asks if Nick could spare something warm to eat.

Nick rants that he has lost his faith in humanity. He believes there is no good left in men; no brotherhood, peace or goodwill toward others. The motel is completely filled and several of the customers lend credibility to his belief by complaining and creating big scenes about little things. Rosa Catapoli (Rosina Galli) takes it all in stride and maintains her sweet, kind, loving, hospitable attitude.

When a young couple arrives with a dying car and no chance of getting to the next town, the true nature of humanity -- at least within the confines of this southwestern motel -- will be put to test, because the young woman, Maria (Lynn Baggett), is in labor.

A Star in the Night is the Christmas story with a southwestern cowboy spin. This is an awesome movie that everybody should own for holiday viewing as part of the family tradition.

review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

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