1941 in a small town in Nazi occupied France. Against the will of its elderly male and his adult niece residents, the Nazis commandeer a house for one of their officers, Lt. Werner von ... See full summary »
A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.
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
During the shooting of this film, Lino Ventura and the director Jean-Pierre Melville did not speak to each other. They only communicated through assistants. See more »
The submarine used in the film is a French Navy's Aréthuse-class submarine, Argonaute (S636) (even the number and name visible during boarding scene). It was launched on 23 October 1958 which is more than 15 years after the events that take place in the film. 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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Based on truth, the Army in the Shadows takes the French men and women of the Resistance as its theme, at a point near the end of the war when the Resistance movement and Nazi intelligence about its work and staff are both firmly established. As well as giving a thrilling history lesson in the workings of the Resistance, from the rural ladies who operated safe houses, to the chateaux-dwelling aristocrats whose lawns played host to light aircraft smuggling collaborators in and out of France, it also is a fascinating essay on the gruesome realities of heroism: including moments of hopelessness and complete failure of nerve. Events test our group of collaborators, so that each one bumps up against his or her personal limit, as to what they are intelligent enough to understand, brave enough to endure, and determined enough to achieve. Excellently acted and directed, it is a classic uncompromising Melville thriller.
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