Uncertain Glory (1944) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • After a career criminal is recaptured and knows he faces the guillotine, he offers to exchange his life for 100 hostages slated for execution by the Nazis.

  • During WWII, in France, Jean Picard is a criminal who is about to be executed via the guillotine, but an air raid interrupts it and allows him to escape. Inspector Bonet tracks him down and brings him back. But along the way, they hear that a railway bridge vital to the Germans has been destroyed, supposedly by allied agents. The Germans take 100 Frenchmen and are threatening to execute them unless the saboteurs come forward. Picard who would rather die at the hands of the firing squad as opposed to the guillotine, offers to go to the Germans and say that he is the saboteur. Bonet accepts and so they go the village near where the bridge was to learn all that they can so that Picard can convince the Germans that he is the saboteur. While there Picard, a womanizer, meets a young woman and falls in love with her.

  • During World War II in Nazi-occupied France, Jean Picard is condemned to the guillotine but miraculously escapes when an air raid kills his executioners before they do their duty. Picard was a thief and a forger who was convicted of killing someone during a robbery. Betrayed by his friend Henri Duval, police Inspector Marcel Bonet soon has him in custody once again. While en route to Paris, they learn that 100 French civilians will be executed unless the bomber responsible for destroying a nearby bridge turns himself into the the authorities. When Picard suggests that he could turn himself in and die a more honorable death, Insp. Bonet refuses but he soon relents. With three days until he must turn himself in, Picard lives in the village and falls in love with a beautiful shop girl, Marianne.

  • For fifteen years, Inspector Marcel Bonet of the sûreté and Paris-based career criminal Jean Picard have been playing a game of cat and mouse, Bonet never having enough evidence to put Picard behind bars for more than six months at a time. Bonet's efforts have of late been negatively affected by the goings-on of the war. Bonet feels he knows Picard better than anyone else now, Picard who generally works off his base needs of seeking the finer things in life, including beautiful women. But in Picard being convicted for arguably his most serious crime, killing a man during a robbery - although Picard still admits to nothing - Bonet believes he can finally put Picard behind him in Picard being sentenced to death by beheading. In the two men together reading about an unknown saboteur who blew up a railway bridge and a train carrying German troops through southeast France, and the Gestapo in turn having taken one hundred men of a nearby village hostage, threatening to kill them unless the saboteur gives himself up within five days, Picard offers what he believes is a deal too irresistible for Bonet to refuse: he will give himself up to the Gestapo as the saboteur, which would save the lives of the one hundred innocent villagers, the Gestapo certain to kill the saboteur. Despite Bonet never having done anything illegal in his life, he does believe the rewards of the offer outweigh the risks, which include Picard somehow figuring out a way to escape without fulfilling his side of the bargain, and accepts the deal. The process will not be as easy as Picard walking into Gestapo headquarters as they have to come up with a story that is both credible and untraceable as being false, which means doing reconnaissance work in the village and Picard working under an assumed name. Beyond the continuation of the cat and mouse games between the two men as Picard may indeed try to renege on his end of the bargain, what happens is affected by one of the villagers, Mme. Maret, doing whatever she can to save the hundred, even sacrificing other innocents, the true saboteurs carrying out their escape plan, and Picard arguably falling truly in the love for the first time in his life, with a young innocent named Marianne who too lives in the village.



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