In this sprawling, star-laden film, we see the struggles of various French resistance factions to regain control of Paris near the end of World War II. The Nazi general in charge of Paris, Dietrich von Cholitz (Fröbe), is under orders from Hitler himself to burn the city if he cannot control it or if the Allies get too close. Much of the drama centers around the moral deliberations of the general, the Swedish ambassador (Welles), and the eager but desperate leaders of the resistance.Written by
Carl J. Youngdahl <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In at least one version of this film, all of E.G. Marshall's scenes as Intelligence Officer Powell were cut out. See more »
Judging by Choltitz's own memoirs ('Soldat enter Soldaten", 1951) there never was an order to deliberately destroy Paris or its monuments. The orders concerned laming industrial plants, blowing bridges, crushing uprisings, and defending the town as a fortress, accepting collateral damage. Choltitz later found out these orders were addressed to his superiors, not to him. He does mention Hitler asking "Is Paris burning?" but says he was informed of this by others, whose names he does not give. See more »
Before I comment I should note that I haven't read the book nor am I that familiar with figures in the French Resistance. One thing that I did notice was that the portrayal of the Nazis in this film wasn't quite as stereotypical as in most World War II movies. Of course Hitler has to be a rug chewing psychotic but many of the other Germans were actually depicted quite humanly. Gert Frobe (Goldfinger) is very believeable even sympathetic as the General in charge of Paris. On another note the star casting works in the case of Welles (Nordling) and is pointless in the case of Kirk Douglas and Anthony Perkins. All in all a fair war picture, 6/10.
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