France, 1942, under German occupation. Philippe Gerbier, a civil engineer, is a French Resistance commandant. Denounced by a French collaborator, he is interned in a concentration camp. He manages to escape, and rejoins his network in Marseille, where he has the traitor executed. This movie reveals rigorously and austerely what life was like in the French Resistance: the solitude and fear of its members; their relationships with one another; the constant threat of arrest by the Gestapo; the Resistance command structure and the way its orders were carried out. Head writer Joseph Kessel and co-writer/director Jean-Pierre Melville were both veterans of the "Shadow Army".Written by
In the sequence when Mathilde exits the car and silently waves goodbye to Gerbier, in response he rolls his window up completely, yet in the very next shot his window remains open as the car drives away. See more »
Claude Ullmann dit 'Le Masque':
Still thinking about the others?
[referring to the resistance fighters, who, like him, were targets in the German shooting gallery]
No, I was thinking of the officer who was sure I'd run too. Like a scared rabbit...
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Spirituals for String Choir and Orchestra: 4th Movement
Written by Morton Gould
[When Gerbier walks to firing squad] See more »
far from fake romanticism
This is probably one of the best fiction movies ever made on the French resistance during Worl War II. Far from the usual romantic cliches showing handsome young men playing tricks with the Nazis and falling in love with sublime women, the substance of the movie is reality. It depicts a "shadow army" made of courageous men who are ready to sacrifice their lives but are aware of the huge cost they will eventually have to pay. It shows the cruel and sometimes inhuman choices they have to make in order to survive. This is a very useful movie that gives a real hint of what resistance truly was.
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