A group of French soldiers during WWII are captured by Nazis troops and sent to a military prison. There they will have to make use of his best resources to keep alive... and sane, while at the same time scheming a way out.
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Gregory La Cava
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With the onset of World War II, Frenchmen from all walks of life enlist in the army. The war is short-lived however as the Nazis quickly defeat them and Marshall Petain signs a peace agreement with the invaders. The troops surrender but rather that being repatriated to their homes as expected, they all find themselves in a military prison. Conditions are difficult with little food and poor medical conditions. The men resist as best they can and for some, like Paul, they are prepared to spend time in solitary confinement and be subjected to beatings if need be. For others, such as Duval, collaboration with their Nazi jailers is the route to an easier life. The men find solace in the company of Father Sebastian, a priest who was also in the army. He counsels them wisely and in the case of Paul, gives him strength to face the daily challenge of simply living. When Paul gets an opportunity however, he helps his fellow prisoners escape. When they liberate a village, they all realize that ... Written by
This film received its USA television premiere in Los Angeles Thursday 1 November 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11); its initial airing in New York City took place Sunday 17 March 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2), followed by Philadelphia Saturday 15 June 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6) and by San Francisco 3 February 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »
The problem with this movie is that it, and others,tends to give an unreal picture of what the reaction of the population to enemy occupation was.Perhaps it exaggerated slightly in that it showed every last German to be a sadistic monster,which of course was not the case.Even in Japan, whose government and army actually encouraged brutality and sadism towards non-Japanese, there were decent, humane people.But there is no question that the occupation of unfortunate countries by both Germany and Japan was both harsh and cruel beyond belief.
But as I said, the real problem was that it showed everyone rising up and striking back with violence.Satisfying, but unfortunately not practical under the circumstances."Burn down the town and retreat to the hills"?The Russians , with their huge country and vast areas of wilderness, could do that, but not people in the small, heavily populated countries of Europe.There was literally no place to run.This kind of thing didn't happen(until the Germans were retreating) not because the people were cowards, but because it would have been pointless and suicidal.It is insane to deliberately take action that will at best annoy the enemy but bring terrible disaster on yourselves and your family and countrymen.Costs always have to be balanced against possible results. The reality is that mostly people gritted their teeth,and resigned themselves to waiting as patiently as they could for the Germans to be defeated by superior force,avoiding provoking their occupiers any more than could be avoided,trying to keep their spirits up.Not spectacular movie heroism, but heroism nonetheless.
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