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The Last Chance (1945)

Die letzte Chance (original title)
Approved | | Drama, War | 19 December 1945 (France)
Escaping a Nazi prison train in war-torn Italy, an American and a British soldier set out for the Swiss border and find themselves leading a multi-national party of refugees for the Italian underground.

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(italian dialogue), | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ewart G. Morrison ...
British Major Telford
John Hoy ...
British Lieutenant John Halliday
Ray Reagan ...
US Sergeant James 'Jim' Braddock
Luisa Rossi ...
Tonina
Giuseppe Galeati ...
Wagon Driver
Romano Calò ...
The Priest
Leopold Biberti ...
Swiss Lieutenant Brunner
Sigfrit Steiner ...
Swiss Military Doctor
Emil Gerber ...
Frontier Guard Rüedi
Therese Giehse ...
Frau Wittels
Robert Schwarz ...
Bernhard Wittels
Germaine Tournier ...
Madame Monnier
Berthe Sakhnowsky ...
Chanele Sokolwki
Jean Martin ...
Dutchman
Carlo Romatko ...
Yugoslav Worker
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Storyline

Escaping a Nazi prison train in war-torn Italy, an American and a British soldier set out for the Swiss border and find themselves leading a multi-national party of refugees for the Italian underground.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

19 December 1945 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Last Chance  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Frere Jacques
Traditional
Sung by the party in the mountain hut
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User Reviews

 
Deservedly Acclaimed WWII Film
15 March 2010 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

Director Leopold Lindtberg grew up in Austria in the early 20th century. As German fascism cast its shadow across Europe, Lindtberg emigrated to Switzerland where, after several years of controversial film-making during and after World War II, he was eventually naturalized.

The Last Chance is a work of historical fiction which draws its power from consistent plausibility made possible by its historic and geographic context. The story takes place mostly in the Italian and Swiss Alps late in Mussolini's rule. It follows two young POWs - one British and one American - who escape from a prisoner transport train in Northern Italy and hatch a scheme to hike across the mountains to neutral Switzerland.

The relationships these soldiers develop along the way - with those who help them, inform on them, shelter and clothe them, and particularly those who come to depend on them - show us a side of World War II which is not often well-explored in non-propaganda films of the era. Although The Last Chance is powerfully anti-war, it is by no means a propaganda film. Rather, it is a thoughtful work of social realism depicting the power and value of humanity to overcome its own tendencies toward collective insanity.

Filmed near the end of world war II under what must have been very challenging conditions, Lindtberg's few advantages must have been that it would be easy enough to find destroyed villages, burnt out buildings and talented actors willing to make a film celebrating the human spirit for little money. The exceptional realism of the sets, the effortless cinematography, and the talented international cast (very few of whom are known for any other films) make the film very easy to watch, and no suspension of disbelief is required as the script, story and action of the plot seem to fit right in place.

There are no recognizable stars in The Last Chance, but the casting is perfect and there are some very powerful performances. The two leads (John Hoy and Ray Reagan - neither of whom ever made another film) are very good, and most of the Italian cast members give noteworthy performances.

Praised as a masterpiece of suspense by none other than Alfred Hitchcock, The Last Chance is a war film which contains very little battle action, and a surprising amount of philosophical dialog. It may be one of the lowest-budget films to win both a Palme D'Or (1945) and Golden Globe (1947), and the courage of its director in making it when the outcome of the conflict it depicts was far from clear is mirrored in the courage of the protagonists. Lindtberg also drew from his own intimate experience with central Europe during the war to create the memorable characters and story line of this brave film, and it shows.


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