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I Accuse (1938)

J'accuse! (original title)
After serving in the trenches of World War I, Jean Diaz recoils with such horror that he renounces love and personal pleasure to immerse himself in scientific research, seeking a machine to... See full summary »

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(scenario & adaptation), (adaptation)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Victor Francen ...
Line Noro ...
Marie Lou ...
Flo
Jean-Max ...
Henri Chimay
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paul Amiot ...
Le capitaine
Marcel Delaître ...
François Laurin (as Delaître)
Renée Devillers ...
Helene
...
...
Leotard
Georges Rollin ...
Pierre Fonds
Georges Saillard ...
Giles Tenant
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Storyline

After serving in the trenches of World War I, Jean Diaz recoils with such horror that he renounces love and personal pleasure to immerse himself in scientific research, seeking a machine to prevent war. He thinks he has succeeded, but the government subverts his discovery, and Europe slides with seeming inevitability toward World War II. In desperation, Diaz summons the ghosts of the war dead from the graves and fields of France to give silent, accusing protest. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi | War

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Release Date:

6 November 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Accuse  »

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1.37 : 1
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Features End of the World (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powerful
22 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

J' Accuse! is one of those imperfect films that have so many captivating and remarkable scenes as to burn them into memory forever. From the first 45 minutes concentrating on the battleground of the first World War that rivals All Quiet On The Western Front to the final half hour of surrealist horror/fantasy that evokes the groundwork for such films as Night of the Living Dead there is much to love about this work.

The editing and use of actual stock war footage actually brings the viewer a historical grounding for the social and moral stance the film takes. The special effects are in grand display for a film of the 1930s and eerily successful during the climax which is one of the truly great accomplishments in cinematic history.

The only drawbacks for the film is depending on your version/copy you may have re-edited scenes which create an odd linear flow to the film and which are also quite obviously placed. Also, the middle of the film does get bogged down in a romantic sub plot that does not seriously work and all too often finds the actors suffering from melodrama.

However, the historical significance of this film's anti-war message should not be detracted from the horrific circumstances surrounding WW II. The film's message actually centers on the scientific advances of the well played lead, Victor Francen, who allows his country (in this case France) the perception of a military advantage to consider war as beneficial. You can easily see this film speaking to the scientific community in any country of the time - especially Germany. Politics aside, the message is clear and as haunting as any you may find in the annals of cinema.


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