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On 16 January 1944, a reconnaissance pilot survives a plane crash in Delahaut in the Nazi occupied Belgium. The boy Jean Benoit finds the wounded pilot and brings him to the house of Claire and Henri Daussois that belong to the Maquis Resistance. Sooner Major Theodore 'Ted' Brice is recovered and tells that he needs to retrieve a book of codes, but the airplane is guarded by the Nazis. Meanwhile Ted and Claire fall in love with each other. When three German guards that are protecting the debris of the airplane are executed, the Nazis select a group of villagers and hang them in a barn. When Henri finds that Ted and Claire are having a love affair, he betrays the pilot with tragic consequences. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The biggest flaw of this so-so resistance drama is the choice of an American actress to play the female lead.Julia Ormond is compelled to speak English -I guess she's not dubbed- with a French accent,which is completely absurd;besides,the story takes place in Belgium,where the accent should be different (I 've often heard Belgian people speak).When René Clément made a similar story in 1963 ("le jour et l'heure"),he chose Simone Signoret as the French woman and American Stuart Whitman for the aviator ,which made sense.And whereas Clement's movie had a dramatic progression (Signoret's character was first a woman who did not care about Resistance),this one has none.Now and then ,the German soldiers appear,just for their reprisals,hangings and tortures.There are some Belgian characters involved but their part is so underwritten that even the hubby cannot display his jealousy.Sandrine Bonnaire tries hard ,to no avail.Only Bill Paxton ,in his restrained and sensitive rendering ,shows some convincing emotion.
The film was a flop,and it is sure easy to see why:Resistance has been tackled so many times in France,Europa and elsewhere ,that ,unless you are a genius,you can't make new things out of old.
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