The Beasts of Marseilles (1957)

  |  Drama, Romance, War

The Beasts of Marseilles (1957) Poster

Escaping British prisoners of war hide out in German occupied France.

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7 September 2001 | Neil-117
| Refreshingly different wartime adventure.
Not a stiff upper lip to be seen. Instead, French bordellos, bread sticks, wine, lust and seething emotions are on the menu as two British escapees from a German POW camp try to hide out in the occupied port city of Marseilles while waiting for a boat back to England.

I say `try' to hide out, because their presence soon becomes an open secret - the Germans seem to be the only ones not in on it. And with all those friendly locals around, that's where the lust and other emotions come in – after all what's a chap to do while sitting around in a lively French city?

As well as the highly original story line, other very striking features of this movie include the superb black & white filming which lovingly captures the teeming bohemian district of Marseilles. Also one can't help being struck by the astonishingly handsome cast of relatively obscure leading actors. The two British escapees in particular could have stepped straight out of a Mr Universe competition. The better known James Robertson Justice plays only a minor but memorable role.

Just for sheer imagination, style and novelty, this movie stands out as a welcome variation on the wartime escape theme. By the way, don't switch off early because the Nazis provide a spectacular surprise ending.

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