In occupied France during the Franco-Prussian War, a young French laundress shares a coach ride with several of her condescending social superiors. But when a Prussian officer holds the ... See full summary »
In occupied France during the Franco-Prussian War, a young French laundress shares a coach ride with several of her condescending social superiors. But when a Prussian officer holds the coach over, social standings are leveled and integrity and spirit are put to the test. Written by
Ken Yousten <email@example.com>
This film is about an idealistic young French woman (Simone Simon) and her refusal to fraternize with her Prussian overlords in occupied France following the French defeat in 1870. It's very obvious that it is meant to be a parallel to the Nazi occupation in France starting in 1940, though in some ways it's NOT a perfect parallel. First, the French stupidly declared war on the Prussians in 1870--making it harder to actually feel sorry for them. Second, the Prussians, at times, seem more like Nazis transported by to 1870.
In addition, the film became rather tedious and obvious very quickly and its message was delivered with "sledgehammer symbolism"--in other words, it was hardly subtle. When it appeared in 1944, the film played much better than it does now and I am sure audiences of the day appreciated it much more than I did. My biggest problems aside from the lack of subtlety was that this was a Val Lewton production--the same man who was responsible for a string of wonderful low-budget horror films such as THE BODY SNATCHER, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and THE LEOPARD MAN. This film simply isn't in the same league as those great films--a definite step down for Lewton.
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