This affaire has been troubling the French for 200 years. In 1796 the Lyons mail coach was held up and its two drivers butchered. Five suspects were quickly arrested, condemned and guillotined, though the involvement of one of them, Lesurques, was far from clear. As impossible to believe in his guilt as in his innocence, according to one commentator, though the film-makers have no doubt. Lesurques is shown as the victim of a chance resemblance (Blanchar in a double role), and the parallels between this and Hitchcock's The Wrong Man are striking, with Dita Parlo touching in the thankless Vera Miles role. Lehmann being a stage director, Autant-Lara was assigned to handle the cinema, in theory. At any rate, the melodramatic and the factual are kept roughly in balance, so you can't be sure, for instance, if it really did rain on the executions. Rumour has it that an uncredited Jacques Prévert wrote the dialogue.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Maurice Lehmann, Claude Autant-Lara|
|Screenwriter:||Jean Aurenche, Jacques Prévert|