Category: War Films

Madeleine Carroll Blogathon: I Was a Spy (1933)

One of the great pleasures of blogathons is discovering an actor or director and realizing that there's still so many wonderful classic films yet to see. It's sort of like knowing that there's still a bunch of Graham Greene novels I haven't read. Maybe the Graham Greene thing is just me.

Having Your Cake in Fritz Lang’s Ministry of Fear (1944)

Lang's protagonists are often less involved in a plot than they are trapped in a psychologically overwrought context, an atmosphere rather than a real place. Even before we know what sort of trouble Neale will get himself in, there is an unnerving emphasis on the passing of time. The film opens on a clock.

King and Country (1964): World War I Blogathon

One of the great—and somewhat overlooked—films about World War I was originally made for television in Britain, filmed entirely on a claustrophobic set with a small budget and a tight schedule (just under a month). Directed in 1964 by Joseph Losey, an American ex-pat across the pond, "King and Country" is based on a fictionalized memoir.

Army of Shadows (L’armée des ombres, 1969), Part 2: Snoopathon

As much as Lino Ventura’s Gerbier grounds “Army of Shadows,” Simone Signoret is its heart, insofar as anyone is allowed a heart in the underground world of the French Resistance. She is, as her colleagues remark, a magnificent woman—among other things, she engineers two extraordinary escapes for her comrades.

Army of Shadows (L’armée des ombres, 1969), Part 1: Snoopathon

Jean-Pierre Melville’s film about a small group of WWII Resistance fighters is undeniably a spy film. Yet it is strikingly unlike other spy films. Bursts of action happen only between long stretches of mostly silent waiting. The heroes make no perceptible progress against the enemy, managing little more than survival before inevitable betrayal and death.