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Yugoslav partisans grimly crop the hair of a village quintet of women believed to have consorted with the occupational Nazis. Four, for various reasons, have indeed - and their seducer is a lone, swaggering sergeant whom the partisans briskly emasculate. Escorted out of town by the sheepish Nazis, the forlorn ladies link up, patriotically and romantically, with a band of tough mountain guerrillas. Written by
I saw this film on television when I was about 11 or 12 and it made a deep impression on me. While I had little understanding of war and certainly no personal experience of it, it pointed out the danger of isolation in the midst of endless violence and the horror of rejection for what would in peacetime have been regarded as a youthful transgression.
The casting of Vera Miles and Barbara Bel Geddes among the European actresses was a clear ploy to make this film resonate with American audiences whom during this period were more accustomed to light, frivolous films. Films of a more serious and thoughtful nature were mostly coming from Europe. At the dawn of the 60s this was a shocking exploitation film, preying on women's feelings of vanity, Americans' collective puritanism about sex, and our waning jingoism. It would be interesting to see how audiences would react to it now.
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