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Worth Seeing for World War II Buffs and Visitors to Paris, 23 April 2005

I made my first trip to Paris this past year. There are remembrances of World War Two on nearly every street corner, plaques with the names of resistance fighters who died during the war and during the Liberation. And France's military history is also on display, from monuments to Louis XIII, to Napoleon, and to their Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe. As Americans we forget sometimes that the French army lost millions during World War One, and struggled with how to fight the Second World War. Losing Paris was a humiliating defeat that the Free French army needed desperately to avenge. This film does a pretty engaging job of telling the story from a French point of view. Like many war films from the time it's a little too long, some celebrity cameos are miscast, and some facts and events are abridged. But unlike some other films from the period, it has some humor, and some great pathos. There's also great footage of the real liberation intercut with the narrative. If you've ever been to Paris, it's a beautiful travelogue of all the famous public spaces, seen through eyes from 1945 and 1966. I can only imagine seeing it in widescreen, and I hope to get a non-dubbed version soon.