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Joseph H. Lewis
Dame May Whitty,
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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
Vera Miles had her head shaved for her role in this film, which resulted in having to wear a wig for her role in Psycho (1960). (In fact, except for Barbara Bel Geddes, who wore a wig, all of the actresses playing the title characters had their heads shaved.) See more »
When the 5 women are bathing near the waterfall the dark haired women is shown putting in her sweater with no underwear. A few seconds later she is shown from the back and the outline of her bra can be seen under her sweater. See more »
This relatively unknown gathers a very impressive cast of both European and American actors and actresses. Silvia Mangano gives a fine performance as the leader of the titled women. These women are casted away from a little town in Yugoslavia 1943 because they have slept with a Nazi Sargent (except innocent Vera Miles who didn't go beyond kissing but anyway is accused as the others), not before they are humiliated by their own people by cropping their hair.
The girls bound together and they wander around the country until they resolve to join the partisans despite their initial resilience. The women will form relationships with the partisans and a captured German Captain (R. Basehart).
But it's wartime and this is no Hollywood movie: there are no happy endings or black and white feelings or situations. The movie is gritty and somehow cruel. The movie has its flaws, the pacing could be better and some characters feel underdeveloped, but all things considered, this is a very good movie. It's not released on DVD, but you can find it over the Internet. It's well worth the search.
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