This movie is based on a real case in which an innocent man who had the bad fortune to resemble a criminal paid with his life. Pierre Blanchar plays both a thief/murderer – the driver of the stage coach in which the courier was travelling was killed during the robbery – Andre Dubosc and the innocent look-alike Joseph Lesurques who has the good fortune to be married to Dita Parlo, one of the shining lights of 30s cinema who was unforgettable in Renoir’s La Grande Illusion. This was Claude Autant-Lara in his social-conscience phase and after a slow, measured start he hits his stride in the wake of the robbery exploring mob psychology and revelling in the irony of a blind man being a key witness that sent an innocent man to the guillotine, we are all murderers indeed. Hitchcock explored similar territory in The Wrong Man in which Henry Fonda was subjected to a lot of discomfort and his wife, Vera Miles even more but in the end the truth emerged in plenty of time for Fonda to walk free, not so, alas, here. Not perhaps an ideal subject for a world on the brink of war but a fine film nevertheless. —IMDb
Claude Autant-Lara (5 August 1901, Luzarches, Val-d’Oise – 5 February 2000, Antibes, Alpes-Maritimes), was a French film director and later Member of the European Parliament (MEP).
Autant-Lara was educated in France and at London’s Mill Hill School during his mother’s exile as a pacifist. Early in his career, he worked as an art director and costume designer, his best known work in this vein was possibly for Nana (1926), a silent film directed by Jean Renoir. Autant-Lara also acted in the film.
As a director, he frequently created provocative movies, saying “if a film does not have venom, it is worthless”. In the 1960s, he turned his back on the New Wave movement, and from then on he had no popular successes.
On 18 June 1989, he came to public notice again, controversially, when he was elected to the European Parliament as a member of the National Front and the oldest member of the assembly. In his maiden speech, in July, he caused a scandal by expressing his “concerns… read more