Sunday, June 26, 2011

ARMY OF SHADOWS (1969) -
Jean-Pierre Melville


Thanks to a bunch of late '60s political foofaraw at this blog's namesake French film rag, Cahiers du Cinema, Melville's somber masterwork about everyday soldiers in the French Resistance was quashed upon its release with abysmal leftist reviews and, thus, never made it to the States. Could you imagine a critic having that much pull in this day and age? If only the Huffington Post could shut down tripe like Green Lantern or Transformers 3 with such expediency.

I first saw Army of Shadows in its grand American re-release in 2006 along with every other come-lately. And, like every other film nerd at the time, I slathered it with pie-eyed praise (here, in fact, at #6 on the 2006 Best List). So I won't belabor the point. Viewed a second time, it's still as subtle and devastating as the sudden knife plunged into the Nazi throat that comes just moments after the shot above. When it comes to WWII flicks and killing Nazis, you can keep your "Bear Jew" with his bloody baseball bat. I'll take Lino Ventura with a quick shiv to the carotid any day.

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