7.5/10
75
6 user 4 critic

In the Midst of Life (1963)

Au coeur de la vie (original title)
This Civil War anthology adapts three Ambrose Bierce stories "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," "Chickamauga" and "The Mockingbird."

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Peyton Farquhar (segment "Rivière du hibou, La")
Anne Cornaly ...
Mrs. Farquhar (segment "Rivière du hibou, La")
Stéphane Fey ...
Union Officer (segment "Rivière du hibou, La") / Pvt Greyrock (segment "L'oiseau moqueur")
Pierre Boffety ...
Johny (segment "Chickamauga") (as Le Petit Pillou)
Frédérique Ruchaud ...
Johny's Mother (segment "Chickamauga")
François Frankiel ...
Pvt John Greyrock (segment "L'oiseau moqueur")
Eric Frankiel ...
Pvt Willian Greyrock (segment "L'oiseau moqueur")
Jean Mauvais
Fred Lissou
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Micheline Caty
Pierre Danny
Paul de Roubaix
M. Domant
Richard Glanz
Harold Herbsman
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Storyline

This Civil War anthology adapts three Ambrose Bierce stories "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," "Chickamauga" and "The Mockingbird."

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Genres:

Drama | War

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Release Date:

21 February 1968 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Am Herz des Lebens  »

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Trivia

This feature was a selection of the first New York Film Festival (1964). See more »

Connections

Edited from Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE MOCKINGBIRD (Robert Enrico, 1962) ***
7 October 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

The first segment of the French anthology based on Civil War writings by Ambrose Beirce IN THE MIDST OF LIFE, this is actually the least of the three stories (being somewhat draggy at 37 minutes) but still pretty good taken on its own merits. If anything, it sets the tone perfectly for the other two: being partially a story about childhood (like CHICKAMAUGA) and also sort of a plot-within-a-plot (like AN OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE), in this case a flashback to the protagonist's past. As expected, the period detail feels authentic and is exquisitely captured by the camera. Regrettably, some of the narration here is only presented in unsubtitled French!

The premise involves a soldier on guard in a forest shooting an unseen enemy who tries to cross the lines; in the excitement (being young and, thus, inexperienced), he recalls his life growing up and in particular how he was separated from his twin brother. This sets up the predictable but nevertheless effective twist ending, where it transpires that the man he killed was his own sibling (leaving one in doubt whether the latter was conscious of the other's identity and had come to greet him)! Incidentally, the title refers to the children's pet which is heard chirping a tune subsequently picked up by the fallen twin!

I followed this with yet another horror effort from this director – the made-for-TV but feature-length 'haunted house' tale THE GHOSTLY RENTAL (1965) and, for the sake of comparison, I also intend checking out the ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS episode from 1959 of "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge".


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