Is Paris Burning?

Film, Drama
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Frostily received back in '66, this star-bedecked account of the Allies' liberation of Paris has scarcely improved with age. Despite the high-powered writing credit, the complicated narrative is prosaically organised, the vignettes lack pungency and the dialogue, at least in the semi-dubbed English version, is astonishingly leaden ('Issue a proclamation to the population'). Even as history it's suspect, since the famously bitter power struggle between the Gaullist resistance and its Communist counterpart is barely allowed to register. On the plus side, Grignon's photography is grainy and authentic looking, Jarre effectively counterpoints militaristic drums and cymbals with lilting French melodies; and some of the star turns are quite amusing - Kirk Douglas' wolfish rendering of General Patton, Welles as a concerned neutral, making a four course meal out of every banality he has to utter.

By: BBa

Release details

Duration: 165 mins

Cast and crew

Director: René Clément
Screenwriter: Gore Vidal, Francis Ford Coppola, Marcel Moussy
Cast: Gert Froebe
Alain Delon
Leslie Caron
Orson Welles
Jean-Louis Trintignant
Daniel Gélin
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Michel Piccoli
Charles Boyer
Kirk Douglas
Robert Stack
Claude Rich
Glenn Ford
Jean-Pierre Cassel
Yves Montand
Anthony Perkins
Simone Signoret
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The only believable thing in this film was Gert Frobe as the German general in charge of Paris. The film was made in the 1960s and most of the civilians wore 60s clothes and hairstyles. That made the film unbelievable, as did the massive support for the Resistance among the French. No pro-Nazi French to be seen. That looked propagandist - as did the Catholic priest working for the Resistance. No mention of Pope Pius (Ratti) supporting Franco, Mussolini and Hitler. You get a more accurate account of collaboration in Ophuls's "The Sorrow and the Pity".