Is Paris Burning? (1966)

PG-13   |    |  Drama, History, War

Is Paris Burning? (1966) Poster

The departure of the German Army from Paris in 1944.




  • Gert Fröbe in Is Paris Burning? (1966)
  • Leslie Caron in Is Paris Burning? (1966)
  • Leslie Caron in Is Paris Burning? (1966)
  • Is Paris Burning? (1966)
  • "Is Paris Burning?" 1966 Paramount Pictures
  • "Is Paris Burning?" 1966 Paramount Pictures

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18 October 2007 | adlearned
| Is Paris Burning?
I've never been a big fan of big star cameos but I always overlook this fromage cinematique every time I watch this film. I first saw this film on TV after having recently returned from a visit in and around Paris on business. Maurice Jarre's (Lawrence of Arabia) militaristic heavy beat of marching drums crowds the plaintive theme music as arrogant looking German victors roll down the Champs Elysee to the utter horror and humiliation of the populace.

Gert Frobe (Goldfinger) is perfect as a member of the evil Master Race who dominate the city, and is the best actor in the film by far. He looked as much like the real-life General Von Coltitz as Kirk Douglas did General Patton. But Frobe's stern yet surprisingly sensitive portrayal of Von Coltitz is as brilliant and as sympathetic a performance as you will ever see of a portrait of a Wehrmacht officer.

Jarre's soaring theme music "The Paris Waltz" at the end of the film, with the liberation of Paris, the film changes from an oppressive black and white to a spectacular segue to glorious color. It is as sublimely joyous and unabashedly sincerely emotional a moment in cinema as any I have ever experienced. I cannot imagine anyone who has been to the City of Light feeling anything but jubilation and appreciation in watching this film despite it's minor flaws.

My feeling after the film concluded was this; what a profound loss it would have been if Paris was indeed reduced to ashes. General Von Coltitz' humanity in refusing Hitler's Satanic order was a coupe de grace that history will probably forget. What a shame.

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