ARMY OF SHADOWS
[L'ARMEE DES OMBRES]
Jean-Pierre Melville's adaptation of Joseph Kessel's quasi-autobiographical French Resistance novel was derided by left-leaning critics as being hopelessly reactionary when first released in the politically tumultuous France of 1969. Decades later, critical reappraisal and a long-overdue U.S. release in 2006 by Rialto Pictures have established it as one of the director's greatest films. Lino Ventura manages the Marseille resistance network, in constant danger of detection by the Gestapo and Vichy police forces, and the code of strict discipline demanding no mercy when it comes to informers, no matter the circumstance. His work puts him and new recruit Jean-Pierre Cassel in contact with members of the Paris cell, including Simone Signoret and Paul Meurisse, and even a secret mission across the channel to de Gaulle and the Free French in London. When one of their inner circle is arrested, the members undertake a series of increasingly dangerous missions to free him. DIR/SCR Jean-Pierre Melville, from the novel by Joseph Kessel; PROD Jacques Dorfmann. France/Italy, 1969, color, 145 min. In English, French and German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
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