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  • Army of Shadows

    Posted by David Foster on January 2nd, 2007 (All posts by )

    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 Responses to “Army of Shadows”

    1. John Jay Says:

      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. David Foster Says:

      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. John Says:

      Yeah, I was being sarcastic. But it still stung, and it has imacpted the French psyche to this day.

    4. Ginny Says:

      Better than “The Sorrow and the Pity” by Marcel Ophuls? 1972 – at campus theaters in the seventies & in Annie Hall. Was this an answer to the 69 one?

    5. Lexington Green Says:

      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.

    6. david foster Says:

      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.

    7. Joanne Jacobs Says:

      I recommend “Soldier of Orange,” which is about a group of young people who have to decide what to do when Holland is invaded and occupied.

    8. Lexington Green Says:

      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.

    9. Jay Manifold Says:

      There’s this really cool scene where the guy has to fight off a bunch of miniature versions of himself that … oops, that’s Army of Darkness. Never mind.