In 1943, during the Second World War, a battalion of the French Foreign Legion is tasked with the mission of removing a fortune in gold bullion from the vault of a bank in a North African town, before it falls into the hands of the Germany army. The Legionnaires arrives just in time to be all but wiped out by the German soldiers who surround the town. Only three of them survive: Sergeant Augagneur, Adjutant Mahuzard and Boissier. With the help of a cowardly artillery man, Béral, the Legionnaires manage to defeat the Germans, but instead of fulfilling their mission as planned, Augagneur has other plans for the gold bullion… —Filmsdefrance.com
Director Henri Verneuil was born Achod Malakian of Armenian parentage on October 15, 1920, in Rodosto, Turkey, and his family fled to France and settled in Marseilles when he was a young child. He later recounted his childhood experience in the novel Mayrig, which he dedicated to his mother and made into a 1991 film with the same name, which was followed by a sequel, 588 Rue Paradis, the following year.
Verneuil enrolled in 1943 at the Ecole Navale des Arts et Métiers at Aix-en-Provence, where he studied engineering. He then pursued a career in journalism, working as the editor-in-chief of the magazine Horizon in 1944-1946 and as a film critic for a Marseilles radio station. In 1947, he had an idea for a short film set in Marseilles and proposed it to the famous comedian Fernandel. The comic liked it, and thus began a long-lasting partnership which produced such popular film hits as Forbidden Fruit, The Sheep Has Five Legs, and The Cow and I read more