In occupied France, German-run Continental Films calls the shots in the movie business. Assistant director and Resistance activist Jean Devaivre works for Continental, where he can get "in ...
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Bulgaria near the end of World War I: Conan, warrior and wolf, leads a band of 50 ruthless French fighters who love hand-to-hand combat. Their motto: "We forgot to take prisoners, Captain."... See full summary »
Samuel Le Bihan,
Bernard Le Coq
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In occupied France, German-run Continental Films calls the shots in the movie business. Assistant director and Resistance activist Jean Devaivre works for Continental, where he can get "in between the wolf's teeth and avoid being chewed up". Fast-living screenwriter Jean Aurenche uses every possible argument to avoid working for the enemy. For both, wartime is a battle for survival. Written by
This film's dedication states that it is "Dedicated to those who lived through these events" [as depicted in this movie]. See more »
The film credits include references to a Lysander and a Dakota but Devaivre flies out in a de Haviland Dragon Rapide, and is parachuted back into France from what looks like a Lockheed Hudson (as it has twin tailfins, it cannot be a Dakota). See more »
So many great names appear !Some of them have been so much despised by the young Turks of the nouvelle vague that it's really a pleasure to hear and see names like Jean-Paul LeChanois -whose behavior was admirable- ,André Cayatte,Maurice Tourneur ,Claude Autant-Lara.Henri-Georges Clouzot,maybe the greatest of them all does not appear ,but we see the door of his office in "la Continentale" a German films firm which produced "le corbeau" and for which Clouzot and others were blacklisted.We see also Michel Simon's back playing in Cayatte's "au bonheur des dames" .Was Tavernier too respectful or did he believe (with good reason) no actor could ACT the monstre sacré?Excerpts of movies are also included ,notably "douce" with the immortal scene "paying a visit to the poor" with Marguerite Moreno comforting the humble people with her "patience and resignation" ;we also get an excerpt of Tourneur's "la main du diable" ,one of the best fantastic movies of the French cinema.
The movie was not a big commercial success and it's easy to see why;you've got to know and appreciate the French cinema during the Occupation.There are veiled hints:they speak of the "Gauloise" during Simon' s sequence :it's Simon's good friend Arletty who was in love with a German .And in the end ,the movie disappoints ,getting bogged down in details and played with actors who lack charisma :Denis Podalydes as Jean Aurenche,who wrote " Douce" " le diable au corps" "Jeux interdits" !He even wrote for Tavernier himself :all his first movies!Well Denis Podalydes may be a commendable actor but elsewhere!The same can be said of the rest of the cast:no stand-out.The English episode was it so necessary?
The movie is useful anyway.It makes feel like watching again and again and again "Douce" "la main du diable" or "le corbeau" ,these jewels which the nouvelle vague was never able,in spite of their pretension,to equal.
NB:Jean Devaivre became a director after the war:his first movies were offbeat works such as "la dame de onze heures"and "la ferme des sept péchés".but he quickly degenerated into mediocrity with his poor sequels of Richard Pottier 's "Caroline Chérie" .
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