France, 1942, during the occupation. Philippe Gerbier, a civil engineer, is one of the French Resistance's chiefs. Given away by a traitor, he is interned in a camp. He manages to escape, and joins his network at Marseilles, where he makes the traitor be executed... This non-spectacular film shows us rigorously and austerely the everyday of the French Resistants: their solitude, their fears, their relationships, the arrests, the forwarding of orders and their carrying out... Both writer Joseph Kessel and co-writer and director Jean-Pierre Melville belonged to this "Army in the Shadows".
CAST & CREW
Jean-Pierre Melville, based on the novel by Joseph Kessel
Director of Photography
Pierre Lhomme, Walter Wottitz
Eric de Marsan
Jean Nény, Jacques Carrère, Alex Pront
Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani
Corona Fono, Roma
After the fall of France in 1940 during World War II, Jean-Pierre Grumbach entered the French Resistance to oppose the German Nazis who occupied the country. He adopted the nom de guerre Melville, after the American author Herman Melville, a favorite of his. When he returned from the war, he applied for a license to become an assistant director but was refused. Without this support, he decided to direct his films by his own means, and continued to use Melville as his stage name. He became an independent filmmaker and owned his own studio. He became well known for his tragic, minimalist film noir crime dramas, such as Le Doulos (1962), Le Samouraï (1967) and Le Cercle rouge (1970), starring major actors such as Alain Delon (probably the definitive "Melvillian" actor), Jean-Paul Belmondo and Lino Ventura. Influenced by American cinema, especially gangster films of the 1930s and 1940s, he used accessories such as weapons, clothes (trench coats), and fedora hats, to shape a characteristic look in his movies. Melville's independence and "reporting" style of filmmaking (he was one of the first French directors to use real locations regularly) were a major influence on the French New Wave film movement. Jean-Luc Godard used him as a minor character in his seminal New Wave film Breathless. When Godard was having difficulty editing the film, Melville suggested that he just cut directly to the best parts of a shot. Godard was inspired and the film's innovative use of jump cuts have become part of its fame.
A Day in the Life of a Clown/ 24 heures de la vie d'un clown (1946, short), The Silence of the Sea (1949), Les Enfants terribles (1950), When You Read This Letter(1953), Bob the Gambler (1956), Two Men in Manhattan (1959), Léon Morin, Priest (1961), The Finger Man (1963), Magnet of Doom/Le deuxième souffle (1963), Le Samouraï (1967), Army of Shadows (1969), Le Cercle rouge (1970), Dirty Money/Un flic(1972).