HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Cargo
Entertainer, The
Wing Commander
Look Back in Anger
   
 
Newest Articles
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
   
 
  Caporal épinglé, Le Going HomeBuy this film here.
Year: 1962
Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Brasseur, O.E. Hasse, Claude Rich, Jacques Jouanneau, Sacha Briquet, Raymond Jourdan, Guy Bedos, Philippe Castelli, Gérard Darrieu, Lucien Rambourg, François Darbon, Cornelia Froboess, Elisabeth Marcus, Mario David, Jean Carmet
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: When the Nazis invaded France, they trampled all opposition under foot, using their superior air power to crush the resistance and finally the nation had to surrender, leaving an uneasy truce between the countries that saw the Germans in charge. But this still left two million prisoners of war who had to be taken care of, and they were not happy about being kept in camps; among them was a man known as The Corporal (Jean-Pierre Cassel) who was determined to be a thorn in the side of his captors, and to that end he decided to take every opportunity to plan his escape. One night, shortly after being imprisoned in a French camp, he took his two friends Papa (Claude Brasseur) and Ballochet (Claude Rich) to the perimeter wall...

Director Jean Renoir was as well known as an artist in film as his father Pierre-Auguste Renoir was known as an artist in painting, but the consensus was that like many a classic talent he produced his best work nearer the beginning of his career than at the end. Certainly if he had signed off with the film previous to this, Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, it would have been a precipitous comedown from the man who had helmed La Règle du Jeu or La Grande Illusion, but he didn't, he managed to make one more film before his retirement (not counting a television documentary in the seventies), and it was this known in English as The Vanishing Corporal, or in America as The Elusive Corporal.

Arriving at around the same time as the bigger budgeted blockbuster The Great Escape, this was somewhat overshadowed at the box office, but offered a coda to Renoir's oeuvre which was light and charming as a kind of French movie version of U.S. sitcom Hogan's Heroes only with a more humane understanding of the reality of the prison camps. While we were invited to laugh at the various scrapes the Corporal gets into, the feeling that he and his fellow inmates were in a dire situation never left the film, always there in the background of every scene, that danger it was not simply the crushing boredom of camp life they had to negotiate, but if they were planning to do something to upset the Nazi apple cart as well, their lives were on the line.

Certainly the Corporal's was, no matter how laced with humour the sequences where he made his escapes were, not that this was especially hilarious as the jokes were either rather broad or more subtle, with little middle ground. So he visits a dentist as part of his next scheme and it's supposed to be funny that he is finding it an ordeal, yet Renoir was stronger on scenes with the dentist's daughter (Cornelia Froboess) who is a German girl speaking French, on the broken side but understandable, and she and he find a connection in the madness that suggests romance would have been on the cards if circumstances had been different. These patches of poignancy were what offered the film a distinctive melancholy, that war had brought ordinary people to this.

Different nationalities who would have got on famously should there have been no conflict at all. The Corporal doesn't so much indulge in his heroic breakouts for the glory, it's more like he is extremely dissatisfied with the way the world has gone and he is dead set on kicking back against the insanity that means he is unable to live in his homeland of France (he is transferred to a German camp early on after that first attempt) with his family, a right that would have been perfectly reasonable at any other time. Do not dismiss the camaraderie between the prisoners, either, as that turns out to be as important to keeping the morale up as any orders from back home would have been, if not more so, with the Corporal making fast friends with both Papa and Ballochet and more along the way, though not everyone is going to survive by chancing their arm against the Nazis. In places this was pretty tense with the lead characters doing their best to negotiate transport and papers in their bid for freedom. The prolific Cassel (Vincent Cassel's father) found one of his best roles here. Music by Joseph Kosma.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 767 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: