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Reunion in France

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Reunion in France
Original movie poster
Directed byJules Dassin
Written byLadislaus Bus-Fekete
Contributing Writer:
Charles Hoffman
Screenplay byJan Lustig [de]
Marvin Borowsky
Marc Connelly
Produced byJoseph L. Mankiewicz
StarringJoan Crawford
John Wayne
Philip Dorn
CinematographyRobert H. Planck
Edited byElmo Veron
Music byFranz Waxman
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • December 25, 1942 (1942-12-25)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,863,000[1]

Reunion in France is a 1942 American war film distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer starring Joan Crawford, John Wayne, and Philip Dorn in a story about a woman in occupied France who, learning her well-heeled lover has German connections, aids a downed American flyer. Ava Gardner appears in a small uncredited role as a Parisian shopgirl. The movie was directed by Jules Dassin.

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It is 1940 in Paris. Michele de la Becque (Joan Crawford) is a career woman in love with industrial designer Robert Cortot (Philip Dorn). They enjoy a luxurious lifestyle unfazed by the approach of World War II. The two become engaged.

After the Battle of France and subsequent German occupation, Michele discovers her fiancé is socializing with Nazi officers, including General Schroeder, the military commandant of Paris; and the SS Gruppenführer in charge of the Gestapo in the Greater Paris region. Cortot's factories are manufacturing heavy duty trucks and weapons for the Germans. She confronts him, and he does not deny her evidence. She is outraged by his collaboration. People in the streets curse them, wish them ill, and spit at them, promising there will be a reckoning one day.

She aids a downed American in the Eagle Squadron of the Royal Air Force, pilot Pat Talbot (John Wayne) from Pennsylvania. She finds herself falling in love with him. Michele makes contact with the Resistance and with their aid, arranges for the escape of Talbot. The Germans are becoming suspicious of both her and Cortot, but do not impede Cortot's obtaining travel papers to Lisbon, "toward the freedom of the Americas ... the great embarkation point."[2] Under the cover of a weekend trip to Fontainebleau, with Talbot disguised as her chauffeur, Michele brings him to a field in the country where a Lockheed Hudson patrol bomber will take him and two members of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) back to England. Along the way, she learns that Cortot is a major leader, perhaps the leader, of the French Resistance. As the Hudson approaches the field, Pat urges Michele to get on the airplane and escape to England with them.

Back in Paris, General Schroeder and the Gruppenführer have become suspicious of Cortot. Too many of his trucks are suffering transmission failures after running a couple of thousand miles. The Gruppenführer accuses him of sabotage; he replies that his responsibility ends after the design is approved - and acidly comments he cannot be held responsible for the failures when the Germans are providing him with substandard materials and locking up his engineers in concentration camps. The SS officer them questions him about Michele's activities, pointing out she had never arrived at Fontainebleau, and requires Cortot to accompany him to Gestapo headquarters for further questioning.

As Cortot, General Schroeder, and the Gruppenführer are leaving Cortot's house, Michele walks through the front door, apparently delighted to see them all. When asked, she explains she felt lonely because her fiancé Robert was not with her, turned around, and returned to Paris to be with him. This explanation satisfies the general, and he orders the Gruppenführer to release Cortot's butler, being held in the Gruppenführer's car as an accomplice. The Germans drive away, Schroeder feeling vindicated that his friend is loyal to Germany, the SS officer disgusted because he has been made to look foolish. Cortot, Michele, and the butler wave goodbye as the Boche leave.

As they stand in the doorway, some children across the street spit in their direction and curse them. Cortot comments that one day, they will understand resistance to the enemy takes many forms. A British airplane is flying over the city, and Robert comments that the Germans do not even shoot at it any more, that they think it is harmless; but in fact if the Germans knew the French, they would see it is deadly dangerous to them. Robert and Michele watch as the airplane, flying at the altitude of the con level, uses its contrail to write the word "COURAGE" in the sky over Paris for all to see.



The movie made $1,046,000 in the U.S. and Canada and $817,000 in other markets, earning MGM a profit of $222,000.[1][3]

Film Daily noted "The film, directed capably by Jules Dassin, has been given a first-rate production by Joseph L. Mankiewicz."[4]

T.S. in The New York Times observed: "If Reunion in France is the best tribute that Hollywood can muster to the French underground forces of liberation, then let us try another time. [The film is] simply a stale melodramatic exercise for a very popular star. In the role of a spoiled rich woman who finds her 'soul' in the defeat of France, Joan Crawford is adequate to the story provided her, but that is hardly adequate to the theme."[citation needed]

Years after making the movie, Joan Crawford was quoted as saying: "Oh God. If there is an afterlife and I am to be punished for my sins, this is one of the pictures they'll make me see over and over again. John Wayne and I both went down for the count, not just because of a silly script but because we were so mismatched. Get John out of the saddle, and you've got trouble."[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Casablanca, Warner Bros., 1942, the introduction to the film.
  3. ^ "Top Grossers of the Season", Variety, 5 January 1944 p 54
  4. ^ Quirk, Lawrence J.. The Films of Joan Crawford. The Citadel Press, 1968.
  5. ^ Bona, Damien. Starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan: Hollywood's All-Time Worst Casting Blunders. Citadel Press, 1996.

External links

This page was last edited on 7 November 2023, at 21:35
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