The Blood of Others (1984)

  |  Drama, History, Romance


The Blood of Others (1984) Poster

WWII. In German occupied Paris, Helene is torn between the love for her boyfriend Jean, working for the resistance and the German administrator Bergmann, who will do anything to gain her ... See full summary »

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5.3/10
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  • Sam Neill in The Blood of Others (1984)
  • Michael Ontkean and Micheline Presle in The Blood of Others (1984)
  • Jodie Foster and Lambert Wilson in The Blood of Others (1984)
  • Jodie Foster and Michael Ontkean in The Blood of Others (1984)
  • Claude Chabrol and Richard Ciupka in The Blood of Others (1984)
  • Roger Miremont and Alexandra Stewart in The Blood of Others (1984)

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12 November 2010 | Bunuel1976
6
| THE BLOOD OF OTHERS {Edited Version} (Claude Chabrol, 1984; TV) **1/2
I recall this being shown on local TV; still, I am not sure in which guise it was – since the film was originally shown as a two-part mini-series (running 176 minutes), while the edition I recently acquired was possibly a theatrical reduction of it with a length of just 125 minutes!

It is yet another rare foray into the English language for director Chabrol; for the record, he would deal with this turbulent period of French history again in both STORY OF WOMEN (1988) and the documentary THE EYE OF VICHY (1993) – though, instead of regular lead Isabelle Huppert, here we have American Jodie Foster. She is okay under the circumstances (the film certainly does not condemn her initial lack of political commitment and apparent collaborationism, though her ultimate self-sacrifice does come off as overly contrived). Less effective are her Communist/resistance members lovers Michael Ontkean (for whom he forsakes the like-minded Alexandra Stewart) and Lambert Wilson; incidentally, this is the one film where Chabrol was able to express his politics! However, also involved with the heroine is German manufacturer Sam Neill – who does creditably too (despite the dubious accent).

Predictably, Chabrol's ex-wife Stephane Audran turns up as well and, while ranking highly in the cast list, her role is both minor and unrewarding (at least in the shorter version); ditto, her Nazi lover John Vernon creates an initial impression but nothing subsequently comes of his character! On the other hand, the participation of veterans Micheline Presle (as an abortionist – a subject the director would focus on in the afore-mentioned STORY OF WOMEN) and Jean-Pierre Aumont (as Ontkean's disapproving bourgeois father) is notable, though brief; Christa Lang, Samuel Fuller's wife, is also on hand (as, reportedly, is the iconoclastic American film-maker himself – though his role seems to have been excised from this compressed edition as I would surely have recognized him otherwise!).

Though the film has been much criticized for its commercial trappings (glossy production, star names, melodramatic plot), Chabrol's true métier as a director of thrillers emerges in a couple of key suspense sequences: the planting of a gun in a Nazi-infested hotel, followed by the assassination of a traitor, and the climactic springing from prison of the captured hit-man via the ruse of impersonation.

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Drama | History | Romance | War

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