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Such souvenirs!, 27 June 2014

Although not a cult movie, Valley of the kings is a nice entertaining movie. For me it has a special flavor as I had left definitely Egypt 3 years before to settle with my parents in Paris.

I saw the movie when it was released in Paris in 1954. I enjoyed it. It was the occasion to see those magnificent temples and especially Abu Simbel where is shot one of the main scenes. At that time the Assuan Dam had not provoked the disastrous effects we know today nor obliged to move the temple. The faces of Ramses II were not spoiled by the cuts visible today due to the move in several sections of this splendid masterpiece of art and architecture.

It is worth seeing such a movie with a good cast and dream a little to what was the shock in those times for the lucky traveler able to reach them. Imagine what was the shock of Belzoni when he discovered the temple sunk into the sand!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A great movie which has not taken a wrinkle 70 years later, 26 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This subject has been treated in many ways and many times. But I think Wyler has probably approached it in the best way; not only does he study the situation from the families points of views which have been separated for 4 or 5 years but he takes also a sharp view on the attitude of the ordinary people in a town towards the soldier coming back from faraway places and where they were confronted to life and death every day.

The USA were lucky enough not to have faced the destruction such as London, or France or other European countries including Germany and Japan. Pearl Harbor although so tragic that it was is nothing compared to what happened on the other side of the Atlantic. It made the rehabilitation of the soldiers much more difficult because in their homeland the people could not really appreciate what they had been through, what they saw. All was a little bit theoretical for the US citizen at home.

The scene in the movie when Fred looses his job after his fight with the customer is exemplary of this misunderstanding of the citizen who was nicely at home while the soldier had to face the real war with all its horrors and fears and dangers. A huge psychological gap had been established between two generations if not more. This was probably not so acute in Europe because we were in the middle of the conflict, with everyday alerts etc. The soldiers' families knew what bombardments meant, the fear of being arrested for no reason by the Nazis etc. The real problem was for those who had been interned in concentration camps and who probably for a majority never really found a normal life again after what they had witnessed and suffered.

An other aspect is slightly approached by Wyler. The fact that after the war, after having seen on newsreels the horrors discovered in Germany perpetrated by the Nazis, there were still in the US, many people who pretended the country should not have gone to war and continued to have an isolationist position on the matter.

In fact what Wyler shows very well is that the US soldier coming home, was arriving like a stranger in a foreign country. And if he had been wounded seriously like Homer he had also to face the reaction and ability of his family and friends to cope with his handicap which made it more difficult to adjust to his new life as a civilian.

The movie is so well directed and the script so perfect that nearly 70 years later it has not aged a bit. Few war films can pretend to realize this.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Most disappointing, 20 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first disappointment is not to have been able to see the movie in an original French version. When you know the real voices of Cremer, Delon,Dux, etc, you're exasperated from the very first minute. I watched the movie on YouTube. And I stopped one third from the end when Bradley gives Leclerc the go to liberate Paris.

There are also huge missing and errors. Nordling had a heart attack on August 22nd and his brother Rolf met Bradley the next day to get Leclerc . Others claim it was Gallois? Who tells the truth especially at the time the book was written and the film shot? But of course we all know of the antagonism between the Communist resistance and the other side! Thank god the communists did not win in the end to take power as they would surely have if permitted. De Gaulle was there to prevent such an eventuality. I doubt unless Morandat gave the information to the production, that he did not know where Matignon was located.

No, although René Clément is a great director, I don't think this is a masterpiece, and this major event of Paris history remained to be treated with more accuracy and it would not need 3 so long hours to digest.

A French movie has been released this year (2014) Diplomatie ( ) which I have not seen fearing that again it was betraying history. It would appear that it presents the decision not to burn Paris in a 24 hours period. Only those having seen the movie can answer the question. It is certain that it took more than that to make Von Choltitz take his decision.

The best review of René CLément's movie is probably the one of SgtSlaughter on this site. He clearly exposes why it is so important in our history (I'm French and living in Paris since 1953). I'm not surprised to see that there are no reviews by french people here, the movie doesn't deserve it.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Will ever American think of others but themselves?, 20 June 2014

The subject: we know it.

The result: we know it.

The special effects: we know them

The actors: we know them and are not surprised as to the standard of their acting.

But what about the way it presents WWII? We know it: properly self centered as usual.

Who suffered for 5 long years? Europe Who had their country destroyed with Millions of people killed or forever disabled ? Europeans not to speak of the victims of the Holocaust and of course the family for many generations who were irradiated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Yes the attack on Pearl Harbor was treacherous and lousy. Yes there was more than 3000 guys and civilians killed or wounded.

But why? Because as usual the American people always think they know best and do not to learn from lessons of the past, or of their allies i.e. France (1940), Great Britain, Poland, Belgium, Russia, etc. And after their final victory America again reiterate and forget as for example the causes which led to September 11th. which also cost thousands of victims.

Nationalism, Isolationism is a LUXURY which has always brought hate and revenge. Instead of always asking for God, they should remember this very simple saying: Help yourself and heaven will help you and not the contrary.

This is a very poor picture, with the usual absence of nuance for depicting characters, the good and the bad and we all know how it ends. Millions of dollars have been spent to produce it when they could have been employed to alleviate the suffering of people in some of the towns of the United States.

What a waste!

Storming Juno (2010) (TV)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Thank you...., 19 June 2014

How can we express our thanks and recognition to those Canadian youngsters who gave their lives for us Europeans, and French in particular. I was only 3 years old in June 1944. I was with my parents one of the few lucky ones not really exposed to the harshness and monstrosity of the filthy German IIIrd Reich. We were the lucky ones to have escaped occupation of Egypt thanks to Monty and his army. What would have happened if El Alamein had not been his victory? The Egyptian government was pro German, few know that.

As someone wrote above, the USA have been up to now considered practically the only one who won the war. When you speak with US citizens and Republicans in particular they just look at you Frenchmen like small fry. They never mention that the Canadians were there, that Commandant Kieffer and his men represented the French on D-Day and many lost their lives. They forget that the French Resistants were also there and helped them prepare that day. They always think they know best and other should keep quiet.They always think they are the best of the best...

But here at last Canada has been remarkably presented and the movie sounds so true that all the parts which have been dramatized merge completely with the news reels. It is terribly moving and unless you have a stone instead of a heart you just can't keep from crying at different moments.

This movie is far more impressive and real than all the Hollywood's super productions of the Spielbergs and Co. It's a must see and I'm astounded that there are only five reviews. How unjust!

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Original Staging, medium casting, 16 June 2014

This everlasting subject of the relations between the three major leaders in charge of defeating the Nazis and settling a lasting peace in the world benefits here of an original staging.

All along the movie the director gives us the impression that a dialog was set between the three leaders, while in reality we know it was a dialog between deaf guys.

Churchill knew from the beginning that Stalin was a liar, deceitful rascal, FDR was already too ill to oppose the cynical Stalin and had to sustain the eternal isolationism of the American people (we must really thank Japan for Pearl Harbor because otherwise Europe would be one of the Nazi provinces), Stalin was in Russia murdering his opponents, fighting against Germany and would have probably concluded a separate peace treaty with the Nazis if Churchill and FDR had not fallen into the trap he presented them at Yalta.

As far as the casting of the three head of states, the poorest choice was Bob Hoskins impersonating Churchill. He did not have the looks, he did not master the speech. Michael Caine makes a splendid impersonation of Stalin although his face is still far from the dictator's one. John Lithgow is a very credible FDR. As for Harry Hopkins there is no resemblance but this is not important in itself. Molotov aka Jan Tríska was not a bad choice.

There are of course errors in the staging. Stalin used always an interpreter. I'm not even sure he could speak English.

As for the historical facts they are accurate as you can't change such important events which shaped the world history and the fate of millions of people.

The merit of the movie is it emphasizes the blindness of the USA President as regards USSR and the sinister cynicism with which poor Poland and many other eastern countries were treated and still are.

Nothing has changed since, the USA are always the poorest international diplomats abroad because of their stubbornness to impose their language to the rest of the world forgetting that to understand a foreign country's culture and mentality it is mandatory to speak its language. We've seen the result in Irak, in Vietnam, in Egypt, in Lybia and in Afghanistan now. Force is not the sole solution, it generates humiliation and anger. That was the case with Germany which lead to WWII and the Nazis.

Will the lesson be understood one day? I doubt, splendid isolationism which was before the attribute of England, is now anchored in the USA's people mentality whatever their leaders' declarations may be....

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
As usual real facts don't appeal to the public, 14 June 2014

I review this movie having watched it diagonally (as we say in french)but I have downloaded it and I'm adding English subtitles to follow the story correctly.

Anyway as a previous reviewer says it's a shame to see how such a story is not viewed by a greater audience.

These are facts without the usual melodramatics so consciously added by American directors.

Perhaps the movie should have been more explicit in the end credits about the facts that it is proved now that the Soviets have murdered that man although they pretended it was not the case. From the beginning his arrest was unlawful and the attitude of the Russians should have been condemned strongly.The allies did not want to hurt the Russians and observed the same attitude they had with the Katin murders.

But what can we expect from a country which is the equivalent of the Nazi regime and which has not change since the Stalin period in spite of their denials?

Today the only remaining interrogation is when did Wallenberg die. There are still searches but they are impaired by the obstacles put to the researchers to consult properly all the archives available and of course many compromising ones must have been deliberately destroyed...

Personally as I wrote in the forum, I feel terribly concerned by those events, my grand parents having disappeared in 1944 in Budapest while the Nazis were fleeing the country.

Altogether, the different scenes I've watched show these events coldly and the actors are very convincing in their different parts.

An excellent movie stressing an event little known by the public, 13 June 2014

I've read the negative reviews and the conclusion I draw from them is that their authors obviously refuse to look at the real purpose of the script.

The easy way to look at this movie is to see the courage and determination of those guys to save the Texas battalion from complete destruction. But is it really the point the script writer and the director wanted to stress out?

My answer is no. From my perspective as a French citizen this movie deals from the first image to the last about tolerance, respect of the one who is different from you . The USA after the shock of Pearl Harbor took measures totally inexcusable against citizens born in the country and treated like prisoners of war. In the Army those who nevertheless volunteered to join the allied forces, were like their fellow black compatriots , subject to racist behavior of the white soldiers.

The problem is that the bullet which kills you doesn't care if you're white, black or your skin yellow. The result is for all the same. Loss of life, grief of your companions on the battlefield and in the families and friends far away. For both groups fear is the same. For both groups you try to connect with some unreachable element which you call god with different names and which reassures you and gives you courage.

That's what this movie is all about. Perhaps some of the flashbacks could have been suppressed, but all in all the script is well constructed and the acting very convincing and many times very moving.

An excellent film but with some situations improbable, 13 June 2014

Paul Verhoeven has made an excellent movie, the script is interesting and the actors are very good.

The main reproach I'll do to this production is in the first place to fall in the actual pit of thinking that the more you put realistic and gore shots in a movie, the better it is. We all know what the Gestapo's murderers and torturers were capable of doing to their victims. Is it necessary to see those acts of pure sadistic behavior? Absolutely not. They bring nothing to action. The same applies to the first scene with students dinner.

The second reproach is that some situations which I'm absolutely sure could not occur in the relations between Erik Lanshof and Susan as well as his friend Guus.I doubt that in real situation Susan as a secretary of a high ranking officer like Colonel Rafelli, would have intimate relationships with his subordinates. Her familiarity in the presence of her superior is quite impossible. Moreover in the 40s women in these jobs were very cautious and rather prudish. I doubt also that those guys would have such disrespectful conducts before the Queen of Holland, with crude language etc. Many scenes could have been suppressed which would have shortened the movie which is much too long(2h35 minutes); this would have given a more dynamic movie.

Why underrate a movie which production did reach records in $$, 11 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What's wrong with this movie? I don't know. Yes it's not a super production costing 100million+$. SO what?

The aim of this movie is to show us how compromise was at work at the end of WWII. Let's read what Wikipedia says of the Exiled Polish government during that period and how the occidental allies acted:

...In April 1943, the Germans announced that they had discovered at Katyn Wood, near Smolensk, Russia, mass graves of 10,000 Polish officers(the German investigation later found 4,443 bodies who had been taken prisoner in 1939 and murdered by the Soviets. The Soviet government said that the Germans had fabricated the discovery. The other Allied governments, for diplomatic reasons, formally accepted this; the Polish Government in Exile refused to do so...

...InNovember 1944, despite his mistrust of the Soviets, Mikołajczyk resigned to return to Poland and take office in the Provisional Government of National Unity, a new government established under the auspices of the Soviet occupation authorities comprising his faction and much of the old Provisional Government. Many Polish exiles opposed this action, believing that this government was a façade for the establishment of Communist rule in Poland. This view was later proved correct in 1947, when Mikołajczyk's People's Party was defeated in an election which was later shown to have been fraudulent. The Communist- dominated bloc was credited with over 80 percent of the vote, a result that was only obtained through large-scale falsification. The opposition claimed it would have won in a landslide had the election been honest. Mikołajczyk, who would have likely become prime minister had the election been truly free, left Poland again in April 1947, this time never to return.

Meanwhile the Polish Government in Exile had maintained its existence, but France on 29 June 1945,then the United States and United Kingdom on July 5, 1945 withdrew their recognition...

This being quoted what is shown on the movie is also plausible. The USSR government was and still is no better than the Nazi one and many other governments still in power. And that's the subject of the film showing how two men can change their appreciation of their situation in view of a war crime.

The acting is perfect and the movie does not need super special effects to put this situation into perspective. Maybe there are 52 stars on the American flag, so what? Great movie directors have had anachronism and errors in masterpieces, did we consider these to be rubbish? Of course not.

This movie is not a cult one obviously, but it is a movie worth viewing with a brilliant musical score which is like a huge requiem in the background mourning a beginning friendship harshly interrupted, an unrealized love union due to the greed for power and domination of the world of two blocks. Through Klaus and Andrew, it is us the viewers who are personified and presented as the puppets of governments and ideologues pretending to protect us but who don't.

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