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(Review originally written at 30 April 2006)

This movie does provide a good and realistic view of French POW's in a German camp. The story and its characters are gritty and those are the main reasons why this movie is quite a good one.

It however is too bad that it's too obvious that this movie was a piece of allied WW II propaganda. This movie was made in the middle of WW II and it's quite ridicules to see how incredibly black and white the story and its characters are at times. The Nazi's are made to look incredibly ruthless and without an heart and conscience while all the French prisoners want to do is practice their religion, be kind to each other and make the best out of it. The story and its characters are so incredibly black and white at times that the movie becomes quite ridicules and not a credible one to watch at times.

The movie also obviously tries to send out a message. To POW to keep fighting and resisting against the Nazi's, to French citizens to revolt against the oppressors (according to the movie, they should even burn their houses down, just like the Russians used to do, so the Germans will find nothing but ashes along their way) and to help the resistance in any way they can.

The whole message and propaganda elements in the movie are all way too obvious. It makes this movie really a ridicules one to watch at times.

There are some good actors in the movie but due to the simple way of directing and storytelling, none of them really shines. The talents of Gene Kelly (in one of his first movie roles) and Peter Lorre are wasted in this movie.

Still I can't rate this movie any lower than a 6 out of 10, since the story and atmosphere are quite good and also have some nice elements in it. I guess it's a pretty good though rushed, early, low budget WW II movie that intends well but is too obvious with its propaganda. Not much interesting is really happening in the movie and the action toward the ending comes too late to makes this movie a better paced- and in general a better and more interesting movie to watch

A watchable movie that however by no means is a must-see or a really recommendable one.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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