In occupied France during the Franco-Prussian War, a young French laundress shares a coach ride with several of her condescending social superiors. But when a Prussian officer holds the ... See full summary »
A rare non-horror effort from producer Val Lewton, this is a period film about a patriotic laundress during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Lewton brought along Cat People star Simone Simon and director Robert Wise (who would do two horror films for Lewton, including Curse of the Cat People with Simon). Despite the setting, it's very obviously meant to be about Nazi-occupied France. It's also pretty clear Simon's character was meant to be a prostitute but the Code wouldn't allow that. The way the upper class types look down on her and the stuff about the German officer wanting to "dine" with her and her steadfast refusal over something so minor is indicative that more is going on here than the script is allowed to say outright. Simone's gorgeous as ever. I love her adorable accent. She handles herself well in this often unexciting costumer. The rest of the cast is fine, with Kurt Kreuger a standout as the slimy villain (and the title character). It's a beautiful-looking film with cinematography by Harry Wild. Lewton fans might like to take a look at it but don't expect anything like his atmospheric horror films.