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The Beasts of Marseilles (1957)

Seven Thunders (original title)
Escaping British prisoners of war hide out in German occupied France.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dave
...
Dr. Martout
...
Jim
Anna Gaylor ...
Lise
Kathleen Harrison ...
Mme. Abou
Eugene Deckers ...
Emile Blanchard
...
Therese Blanchard
Katherine Kath ...
Mme. Parfait
...
Eric Triebel
...
Colonel Trautman
Martin Miller ...
Heinrich Isadore Schlip
...
Paul Bourdin
Marcello Pagliero ...
Salvatore (as Marcel Pagliero)
Carl Duering ...
Major Grautner
Edric Connor ...
Abou
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Storyline

Escaping British prisoners of war hide out in German occupied France.

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Drama | Romance | War

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1 November 1957 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

The Beasts of Marseilles  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.75: 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character and murderous career of Dr. Martout was based on fact. The real doctor, very much as depicted in the film, was a Dr. Petiot, who was tried and convicted of 26 murders, but suspected of over 100. He was executed by guillotine. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Escaped prisoners of war Stephen Boyd and Tony Wright hide in the Old Port of Marseilles
2 August 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Seven Thunders" (1957) is a well-done British war drama of an original and very different sort than the typical war movie that involves military training, or missions against the enemy, or elaborate prison camp escapes, or the development of weapons. It runs 96 minutes, not 70. The "seven thunders" refers to the climactic demolition and destruction of the entire old district of Marseilles in the Round Up of Marseilles in January 1943. This was a joint operation of the French police under German authority to find Jews and to destroy an area that could not be kept under firm military control because of its cramped construction, hidden passages, and windy narrow streets.

This story takes place entirely in the Old Port of Marseilles and begins with the arrival by boat of Stephen Boyd and Tony Wright, British soldiers who have escaped a prison camp. Marcel Pagliero is the boat captain. The suspense of possible recognition begins immediately as we see the clever ruse by which the French help them avoid being questioned by German soldiers. They have to hole up in the old district until Pagliero can take them safely away, and this will be an indefinite period.

Boyd rescues Anna Gaylor from the sexual advances of a hefty German soldier with whom he later tangles in a well-staged rooftop fight (without evident doubles). Thus begins their romance. Boyd's engaged to someone back home but he sells his ring to get money for food. Wright strikes up a friendship with neighboring Londoner, Kathleen Harrison. Her apartment borders on a brothel run by Katherine Kath.

A major sub-plot that eventually involves the two escapees details the machinations by which a murderer, James Robertson Justice, preys upon people anxious to escape France. He is unknowingly assisted by Eugene Deckers who steers people his way. Deckers and his wife, Rosalie Crutchley, lose their daughter to the bullets of a highly emotional young German soldier in one of the German raids on the district brought about by the pressures of Anton Diffring in a brief appearance.

By making each episode reasonably suspenseful and weaving them together with the ever-present police presence and menace, the story hangs together despite the fact that it has these several disparate threads that depict life and people in the old district under difficult wartime circumstances.


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