"Those nasty Nazis will never triumph because they have no fashion sense, no sense of humour and are utterly mystified by the workings of the female mind. Oh, I love this film and so does everyone to whom I've lent it.
Joan Crawford represents the spoiled darling that was France, now ready to join the Resistance and fight for freedom. (Don't worry, those oblivious Nazis actually FETCH HER ENTIRE COUTURE WARDROBE to the modest digs she occupies when they have taken over the lion's share of her house.)
The two who take away the film, though, are Henry Daniell and John Carradine, both playing Nazi officers. The former, who has been wounded by the bite of an enemy dog, is in charge of Joan's house when it is commandeered. He is captivated by Joan, who lets him back her up against the wall and KISS HER ON THE LIPS so that John Wayne can make his getaway. John Carradine is the head of the Gestapo in Paris, and he is so sinister, sombre and sexless that you may find yourself fretting that Joan might have a little trouble with him. Don't. She will triumph at the end.
My favourite scene is in a nightclub. There is an African-American jazz band playing and the singer is belting out "I'll be glad when you're dead, you rascals, you! I'll be glad when you're dead, and Adolf, too!" The smiling, finger-tapping Nazi couples just lap it up. They don't know English, I suppose. (What makes this even weirder is that the whole movie is in nothing BUT English. But don't worry about it.)
A joy from start to finish. Please watch and enjoy. This is right up there with _Adventures of Tartu_ with Robert Donat!
JOAN CRAWFORD TAKES ON THE NAZI OCCUPATION OF FRANCE...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 12/09/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Entertaining, though slightly absurd, World War II story. Rich French woman (Joan Crawford) is madly in love with and engaged to rich French industrialist (Philip Dorn). She is a self indulgent society woman, until the war ravages the France she knew. Now, with France under Nazi occupation, her magnificent mansion in Paris in the hands of the German comquerors, her fiancee seemingly in the thrall of the Nazis, she sees the light and undergoes a change. A fervent patriot, she rejects the Nazis and, in doing so, rejects her fiancee. An injured American RAF pilot (John Wayne) accosts her on the streets of Paris one night and induces a surprised Joan Crawford to help him escape those whom he believes are following him. She does so, but it soon becomes paramount that he leave France. She turns for help to her by now estranged fiancee, whom she has spurned, because she perceived him as having collaborated with the enemy. To her surprise, he agrees to help her. The pilot's departure does not go according to plan, however, and Joan discovers that things are not always what they seem. Though the viewer will probably realize what is going on before Joan does, this does not take away from the enjoyment of what is clearly a war propaganda film.Philip Dorn is wonderful in the part of the rich French industrialist and Joan's fiancee. Joan is, as always, beautifully garbed in exquisite outfits and give an excellent performance. John Wayne is overshadowed by his co-stars and seems somewhat awkward in the part of the American RAF pilot. While the screenplay is somewhat unbelievable, it is an entertaining film, nonetheless. Joan Crawford fans and those who love classic films will surely enjoy it."
Wayne and Crawford in wartorn France
s007davis | Texas | 06/20/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Glossy, entertaining WWII era propaganda and the only time John Wayne and Joan Crawford appeared together in the same film. Not as good as CASABLANCA or MRS. MINIVER but still a must see for fans of films made about the war between the years 1939 and 1945. Keep an eye out for Natalie Schafer ("Mrs. Howell" from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND) as a pushy Nazi officer's wife and Ava Gardner as a salesgirl who says "Gutentag"."
From Spoiled Mistress To Heroine of the Resistance
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 09/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The conventional wisdom about this movie (and its followup, ABOVE SUSPICION, which pairs Crawford in Europe with Fred McMurray) is that they were deliberately bad features planned by the moguls to force Crawford out of pictures. But neither film deserves its bad reputation. Indeed in hindsight I find them fully as interesting as any other of Crawford's MGM vehicles, and by no means do they seem cheap or ill-thought-out.
Well, it's kind of silly having Crawford playing the richest girl in France, in a movie when everyone else is playing up the French accent so much so that at times you can't understand what they're saying, and meanwhile she, Joan, doesn't even try. Why should she? She's Joan Crawford. The only time she tries to go French is when she carefully pronounces the name of her fiance: "Row-bear." Outside of that, she uses her regular, broad American accent with its weird dips and slurs, the voice we know from a hundred movies. When the picture begins she's sitting, bored silly, on the dias during some kind of fundraiser honoring those who made the Maginot Line possible in May 1940--the night it broke. She rushes home to dismiss the modistes who have been waiting for her for two and a half hours, for she is off to Biarritz for a holiday. Well, by the time she crawls back, having been bombed and brutalized, Paris has fallen to the Nazis and it's a new day of deprivation for the glamorous Michelle de la Beck, and "Row-bear" her boyfriend (Philip Dorn) is looking strangely like a collaborator.
Michelle's million franc mansion has been commandeered by Vichy forces, and she is told to sleep in this crummy little concierge studio, a room with a door on the street that doesn't lock. It's filthy, grim, and dangerous, for any Nazi could come in at any time. She takes a job at the couturiere she used to patronize--sort of a left-wing Coco Chanel, very chic but no threat to Joan in the looks department. German women are buying up all the gowns in the shop, big heavy Walkure style creatures who look like pigs suckling at a trough. Then John Wayne (as "Pat") escapes from a POW camp and stumbles, sick, nearly hallucinating, into Joan's arms and she has to shield him the Gestapo. John Wayne looks hot in this movie! He could put his boots under my divan any old time. She moves him right into her apartment with only a cursory thought to propriety, it's sort of refreshing. People in World War II, even Hollywood people, must have thought that they had entered into a new world which would be totally given over to the fight against Fascism, and that all other considerations were secondary to this mission. Jules Dassin, the director, embodies this pulpy material with real conviction and some wise-ass camera setups--real wit, real grit, and two fantastic, out of this world stars."
Glamour VS. the Nazis
Kevin Killian | 12/31/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is amazing in the sense that the studio would make a movie regarding the Nazi occupation of Paris and glamourize it. Crawford wore beautiful frocks throughout the movie, even while running from the Germans. It was basically a vehicle for Crawford to run around and look beautiful. The pairing of Wayne and Crawford seems odd even today, yet somehow the movie holds one's attention. It is interesting to see how Hollywood ran a proganda machine during WWII. If you are a diehard Joan Crawford fan, as I am, you will want to see this movie, but don't expect too much. This is not nearly in the league of Mildred Pierce or Sudden Fear."