1941 in a small town in Nazi occupied France. Against the will of its elderly male and his adult niece residents, the Nazis commandeer a house for one of their officers, Lt. Werner von ... See full summary »
A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.
France, 1942, under German occupation. Philippe Gerbier, a civil engineer, is a French Resistance commandant. Denounced by a French collaborator, he is interned in a concentration camp. He manages to escape, and rejoins his network in Marseille, where he has the traitor executed. This movie reveals rigorously and austerely what life was like in the French Resistance: the solitude and fear of its members; their relationships with one another; the constant threat of arrest by the Gestapo; the Resistance command structure and the way its orders were carried out. Head writer Joseph Kessel and co-writer/director Jean-Pierre Melville were both veterans of the "Shadow Army". Written by
For the shot depicting German soldiers marching down the Champs Elysees, Jean-Pierre Melville thought that it would be impossible to get regular Frenchmen to provide the proper marching movements. He ended up casting dancers to correctly provide the march steps he wanted from the soldiers. This shot was originally the last in the film and prints were sent to theaters with it in that place. After the first showings, Melville decided the scene was better placed at the start of the film and it was physically spliced into the new position. This apparently resulted in several missing frames in the negative. These frames were restored from another source when the 2005 digital restoration was accomplished. See more »
In the end, it says "dimanche 23 février 1943" (Sunday, 23rd February, 1943) even though it was a Tuesday. See more »
I saw this brilliant drama-piece a long time ago and it bound me to my chair. I couldn't move. It is so dramatic and meaningful, and full of betrayal. A choice of life and death never before so condemning in film registered as Jean Pierre Melville himself. He was here recounting his memory as a underground member.
Never before I saw a movie where betrayal had such an impact. I wanted to scream and to help them, but Melville does a little about that.
Spend a lot of nights with bad dreams and a complete loss of human insight.
This masterwork deserves the maximum score. 10*
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