Army of Shadows

Army of Shadows is a movie about the French Resistance, made in France in 1969. and never before released in the United States. It has been getting incredible reviews–“best film of the year”, according to one NYT reviewer–but has a very limited release schedule in this country.

Has anyone seen this? Does it measure up to the reviews?

I may go to the Jan 4 (Thursday) showing at Chincoteague Island, VA (Eastern Shore), if anyone lives around there and would like to join me.

9 thoughts on “Army of Shadows”

  1. I saw it years ago on either PBS or the BBC. It seemed decent enough, although more fatalistic than I tend to like – almost Russian in its outlook. (What can you expect from the Frogs? ;-)It wasn’t their fault they folded like a house of cards, it was fate.)

    I was in my 20s when I saw it, so my tastes may have changed. I think I’ll see it again to find out.

  2. John–the campaign of 1940 was less of a walk-over than Americans (and, I suspect, Brits) tend to assume. There were on the order of 100,000 Frenchmen killed over a 2-month timeframe.

  3. Has anyone seen Soldier of Orange? It is about the Dutch resistance. I have heard it is good, but never seen it.

    The French in 1940 were beaten fair and square. They did not lose because of moral decay. They lost because their generals made mistake before and during the war and misused the very good equipment they had, and because the Germans were very aggressive and well-trained and well-led. The French in many places fought bravely, but not enough to undo the errors of their leaders. The idea that the defeat of 1940 was a reflection on some inner malaise of French society is not very well-founded. The 1940 campaign was a near run thing. See Doughty, The Breaking Point: Sedan and the Fall of France, 1940, that is, if you can find a copy. I won’t even tell you what I paid for mine.

  4. Lex–one very useful book on this campaign is “Assignment to Catastrophe” (2 volumes) by Gen Edward Spears, who was Churchill’s personal representative in France. Spears was a long-time Francophile (he had been a liason officer in WWI) and the defeat really tore him apart.

  5. David, thank you. That has long been on my list. Spears also wrote a book about World War I, as I recall. There is a short chapter on Spears in John Keegan, ed., Churchill’s Generals.

    Joanne says Soldier of Orange is good. OK, I guess that confirms it.

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