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Bon Voyage (1944)

 -  Short | War  -  June 1994 (Portugal)
6.4
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A young Scottish RAF gunner is debriefed by French officials about his escape from occupied territory, and in particular one person who may or may not have been a German agent.

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Title: Bon Voyage (1944)

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Cast

Cast overview:
John Blythe ...
RAF Sgt. John Dougall
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Storyline

A young Scottish RAF gunner is debriefed by French officials about his escape from occupied territory, and in particular one person who may or may not have been a German agent. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | War

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

June 1994 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Gute Reise  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfred Hitchcock did not make his customary cameo appearance in Bon Voyage (1944) nor did he in his other short propaganda war film Aventure malgache (1944). See more »

Quotes

[first title card]
Title Card: London, 1943. After escaping from Germany, RAF Sergeant John Dougall is questioned about his journey by a French Intelligence officer.
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User Reviews

 
"Slang makes your accent worse."
2 August 2009 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

This 26-minute Alfred Hitchcock entertainment is, of all things, a 1944 French-language propaganda short film made for the British Ministry of Information. Evidently, Bon Voyage was ultimately not shown because he made more of a crafty thriller, somewhat like a wartime propaganda version of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Doulos, rather than a clearer, unequivocal exaltation of the Resistance. Out of this context, nevertheless, this does not deter the film. Indeed, ideological avenues discard the notion of the film text as singular in interpretation. That is, it doesn't necessarily make only one kind of sense, minus inconsistencies, omissions, or alternatives in the readings made by different members of the audience. Instead, the film is a kind of battleground for competing and generally adverse views. Naturally, this competition usually results in an upper hand for the culture's more prevalent view, but not without leaving cracks or divisions through which we can see the consensualizing work of systems and principles revealed.

Although the film is mostly just a concern to Hitchcock completists, philosophical speculation provides the point of entry to an understanding of the film's precise evolution of being made. These cracks, or disagreements, in the text are not merely the creations of critics. They are generally moments where the audience is conscious of a predilection in the narrative, where a uniting of lovers is figured in that is implausible or where the death of a character might feel causeless or capricious, or where one might have expected the ending to have another feeling of tone. Usually the customary issues of which we might catch sight within a film are determined by the inflexibility of the cultural contentions. An disappointing ending may come from failing to merge the idealized options completely. In this case, the ending feels clipped too soon for the hero, a downed RAF pilot, to have learned anything from his revelations, save the reiteration that Vichy spies are bad and the French Resistance is good but not invincible.

As I said, this political piece is not deterred by any unitary interpretation. In fact, despite its purposefully placid and unremarkable first half, it is surprisingly easy to see it as a very clever, if short, WWII caper about the escape of our hero through German-occupied territory. For better or worse, I admire it for its compact use of varying perspectives of the same events, a technique not unlike that used a few years later by Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, which, as we can see, is the one that had the lion's share of influence on cinema, storytelling, sociology and philosophy.


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