Raymond Bernard will be remembered for his moving "les croix de bois".You can find an excellent comment by Eric Sayettat on the IMDb."Les otages" which career was stopped by WW2 is far from being as strong.In 1938,a lot of movies were verging on propaganda,and "les otages" was part of them.
Okay ,two people fighting for a tiny piece of land (and their children get married unbeknown to one of them at that) may be a subtle metaphor for the impending events.But the treatment fluctuates between comedy and tragedy and with the exception of one or two sequences -the soon-to-be -executed man singing to the toddler "les petites marionettes" behind the bars-,I doubt it will grab today's audience .
Everybody vying to be an hostage-the German demands five hostages because of one of their officer's death- ,it's hard to swallow.Just compare it to Christian -Jaque's "le repas des fauves" (1964).There's also the famous episode of the taxis de la Marne,the deus ex machina of the movie.
Considering what Renoir, Carné ,Duvivier and Gance were doing at the same time,"les otages" ,where everybody's a hero,is nothing but a propaganda movie.
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