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Passage to Marseille (1944)

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Five patriotic convicts are helped to escape imprisonment in Devil's Island so they can fight for occupied Free French forces against the Nazis.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Casey Robinson (screenplay), Jack Moffitt (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Jean Matrac
Claude Rains ... Capt. Freycinet
Michèle Morgan ... Paula Matrac (as Michele Morgan)
Philip Dorn ... Renault
Sydney Greenstreet ... Maj. Duval
Peter Lorre ... Marius
George Tobias ... Petit
Helmut Dantine ... Garou
John Loder ... Manning
Victor Francen ... Capt. Patain Malo
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Grandpere
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Chief Engineer (as Edward Ciannelli)
Corinna Mura ... Singer
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Storyline

As French bomber crews prepare an air raid from a base in England, we learn the story of Matrac, a French journalist who opposed the Munich Pact. Framed for murder and sent to Devil's Island, he and four others escape. They are on a ship bound for Marseilles when France surrenders and fascist sympathizer Major Duval tries to seize the ship for Vichy. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German | Spanish

Release Date:

11 March 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Message to Marseille See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The plane shown attacking the freighter is a model of a Focke-Wulf 200, a bomber developed from a airliner. It's an accurate representation of the 200, with the exception that it has a bomb bay, which the original did not have. See more »

Goofs

In the film, the aircraft used by the Free French squadrons are American-built Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses, and are described as such by Capt. Freycinet. There actually were two Free French heavy bomber squadrons based in England: Groupes de Bombardment GB II/23 "Guyenne" and GB I/25 "Tunisie," which were part of the Royal Air Force as 346 and 347 Squadrons respectively. However, they did not fly Fortresses. Their aircraft was the British-built Handley Page Halifax. Obviously, for Hollywood purposes, Fortresses were easier to obtain than Halifaxes. See more »

Quotes

Captain Freycinet: He still fights. The bombs they're dropping tonight are editorials the Germans will understand.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(1792) (uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Variations played often in the score
Sung by a chorus at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

Bogart's character not always saintly
26 August 2002 | by george-102See all my reviews

I think some people have been unduly unfair on this film.

There is quite a complex sequence of flashbacks. But as a matter of fact, I didn't find them at all difficult to follow. My brain only hurts when I try to work it out afterwards. Maybe it's another of those things which work better in a cinema than on TV.

There is a scene where Bogart's character commits a war crime. I think we have to remember that Bogart did not always play saintly characters. He was not exactly saintly in the "Maltese Falcon" or "Casablanca". He was even less saintly in "The Caine Mutiny". I am sure that the audience in 1944 would have been shocked by the war crime just as we are

now; even Nazi propaganda sometimes emphasised the importance of being gentlemanly to prisoners. The easy and boring option would have been for

Bogart to play the all-American (or all-French) hero throughout; I find it

more interesting that in this case he isn't. I think the circumstances to some extent explain what Bogart's character does. The fact is war crimes happen in war. They happened then, and they happen now, and the perpetrators are not as through-and-through evil (or different from us) as we would like to think.

I agree with those who say this film is not as good as "Casablanca" or the "Maltese Falcon". The plot is a lot more lumpy and uneven than those films. But I've seen those two films several times already, and I can't watch them every night. "Passage to Marseille" is worth at least one viewing. In fact I would like to see it again, if I get a chance.


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