Army of Shadows (1969)


“She said five minutes, but she’ll wait a lifetime.” – Jean Francois Jardie

Number of Times Seen – 1 (19 Jul 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A look at the work of members of the resistance in France during the German Occupation in World War II.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had never heard of beforehand, yet came across it by accident while seeking out films to watch in the genre of French Film Noir.

This film doesn’t fit into that genre, yet, I was quite pleased to have come across it nonetheless.

This is an amazing film that is presented in a subtle way.

They are able to show the mental and physical toll that members of the resistance needed to deal with while trying to do the impossible; win small victories in helping the Allies win the war.

The men and women depicted here all did their work in an anonymous fashion in order to help conceal their identities to stay safe from informers.

The would all do small things in order to advance their work and always knew that if they make one small mistake, it could mean their lives and the lives of their fellow resistance members.

Despite their obvious fears of getting caught or killed, these men and women continued to do their work in an attempt to help the war effort even in small ways.

They all know about the unwritten code among them that if they somehow give up information, they will face the consequences of their organization which worked in secret.

The film is able to give us some very simple and subtle actions performed by those sympathetic to the cause where even just an offer of  coat of a different color could make all the difference between getting caught and staying free.

The film portrays these characters in a very realistic manner as they give us ordinary people as characters instead of super humans who follow their own conscience in order to attempt to accomplish what is largely seen as the impossible.

Bottom Line – Excellent film that is able to show the kind of toll taken on members of the resistance who’s only goal is to try and help the Allies during the war. These anonymous men and women would do all that they can to help, knowing that if they get caught or made any small mistake, it would be their end. The characters all shows us that despite their fears, they are constantly able to continue their work in the hope of doing something even small in order to help the War effort. They all live by a code that makes them even more aware that if they end up given information to the enemy, it will mean their life.  The characters are all portrayed in a very realistic fashion because they aren’t presented as super strong heroes, but everyday normal men and women who follow their conscience in an attempt to do what may seem the impossible. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – For the shot depicting German soldiers marching down the Champs Elysees, Jean-Pierre Melville thought that it would be impossible to get regular Frenchmen to provide the proper marching movements. He ended up casting dancers to correctly provide the march steps he wanted from the soldiers. This shot was originally the last in the film and prints were sent to theaters with it in that place. After the first showings, Melville decided the scene was better placed at the start of the film and it was physically spliced into the new position. This apparently resulted in several missing frames in the negative. These frames were restored from another source when the 2005 digital restoration was accomplished. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)

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2 thoughts on “Army of Shadows (1969)

  1. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z | MovieRob

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