In winter of 1938, Paris is crowded with refugees from the Nazis, who live in the black shadows of night, trying to evade deportation. One such is Dr. Ravic, who practices medicine illegally and stalks his old Nazi enemy Haake with murder in mind. One rainy night, Ravic meets Joan Madou, a kept woman cast adrift by her lover's sudden death. Against Ravic's better judgement, they become involved in a doomed affair; matters come to a crisis on the day war is declared. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
MPAA chief Joseph Breen made the studio tone down the excessive violence in the script. The scene in which Ravic kills Haake also included him stuffing him in the trunk, stripping him naked, burying him and burning his clothes, all eventually cut from the film. Breen also objected to the murder going unpunished, but later rationalized it as an act of war, since it was committed on the eve of the outbreak of WWII. See more »
This could have been a much better movie. Boyer's disenchanted, vengeful refugee doctor is excellent and Bergman's Joan, unable to commit or disengage, could have been a fascinating characterisation. But while individual scenes are very fine, the film, as a whole, is oddly disconnected, suggesting ruthless cutting. The sub-plot involving Laughton's porcine Gestapo bully is perfunctory and we get far too much of Calhern's emigre. Still, the black and white photography is impressive, and I rather went for the doom and gloom!
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