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Reunion in France


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Drama/Romance/Gainful, USA, 1942, 99 min.

Tagline WHAT A THRILL! Startling drama of a stranded Yankee flyer and a Parisian beauty!

Synopsis In the summer of 1939, Parisian socialite Michele de la Becque tries to encourage her lover, automotive designer Robert Cortot, to come with her to the South of France, but Robert refuses because of the war. The self-centered Michele does not understand and frivolously goes to her favorite couturier, Mme. Montanot, for a new wardrobe. As Michele leaves for her holiday, Robert tries to tell her how important France is to him and to make her understand what the war means, but she dismisses his words. Soon German forces cross France's seemingly impenetrable Maginot Line and Paris is occupied by the Nazis. Returning to Paris, Michele finally begins to realize the horrors of war. Her house is now occupied by the Nazis, but when she goes to Robert's, she is puzzled to find that his life has barely been affected by the war. That night, while they dine at an elegant hotel, Michele is revulsed to discover that Robert is a favorite of highly placed Nazis. When the concierge, Martin, an old friend, tells her of Robert's blatant collaboration, she refuses to occupy the luxurious room that Robert has arranged for her. After she leaves, Martin is arrested by Ulrich Windler, head of the Paris Gestapo. Back at Michele's house, in the small, exterior servant's quarters she now occupies, Robert is waiting and tries to reason with her, but she refuses his help and is disgusted by his pro-Nazi attitude. The next day she goes to Montanot to ask for a job. On the way home, she is accosted by a man who is running from the Nazis, downed RAF Eagle Squadron flyer Patrick Talbot, from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Although suspicious, she lets him in her room because they are being followed by Gestapo agent Stregel and French gendarme Durand. The next morning, after the exhausted Pat has had a good night's sleep, he offers to leave, but she tells him to stay and decides to help him. Unknown to her, the suspicious Stregel is still watching her place, and is relieved by an apparent superior, Herr Schultz. That day, the patriotic Montanot and her assistant Juliette agree to help Pat with money and forged papers. When Robert comes to the shop, he angrily warns Michele that her attitude will soon get her into trouble with the Nazis and begs her to let him help her to leave France. That night, as Michele and Pat flirt with each other, the German officer occupying her house drunkenly storms into her room. He exchanges barbs with Pat, who, as an American is not yet an enemy of Germany, but who incurs his wrath. To avoid a dangerous confrontation, Michele pretends she is attracted to the officer and distracts him until Juliette's boyfriend takes Pat safely away. Michele then goes to Robert to ask his help to leave France and says that she wants a car and would like to use an American student who has lost his papers as her chauffeur. He agrees to help and she promises to pretend to be his fiancée. One week later, Pat, who now poses as Michele's chauffeur, thinks that the reason she quit her job and now socializes with the Nazis she hates, is that she loves him and is trying to save him. When Schultz sees them talking in a familiar way, he secretly tells Robert. At a Parisian nightclub, Michele tries to charm Windler and General Hugo Schroeder, the prefect of Paris, but Windler is suspicious of her. Meanwhile, in a small hotel, two men tell Schultz that a photo of Pat confirms that he is the missing RAF flier and say that they must work quickly. Soon Honore, Robert's butler, brings Michele her papers, saying that she must leave immediately. Robert then comes to her, and after tenderly saying that he loves her and France more than ever, sends her away with Schultz. She is certain that Robert has betrayed her when she is put into a car with two men in Nazi uniforms. When they then drive to pick up Pat, he is put into another car, and she assumes that he is now a prisoner. The two cars arrive at a checkpoint at the same time and Michele realizes that Schultz and the other two "Nazis" are really British agents. The two cars speed off after Schultz creates a diversion. As the Nazis from the checkpoint chase the car in which Michele and Schultz are riding, he is mortally wounded, just before killing the pursuing Nazi commandant. Before sending Michele off toward a secret airfield, Schultz, whose real name is Pinkum, reveals that Robert is really a leader in the French underground. At the airfield, Pat and the others are waiting for a plane to take them to England. When it lands, Michele thinks about what Pinkum had told her about Robert. The next morning, in Paris, Schroeder and Windler arrive at Robert's house with news of Pat's escape and are about to arrest him for arranging it when Michele arrives. This is evidence enough to convince Schroeder that Robert is blameless and he and Windler leave. Waiting in the doorway as Schroeder and Windler drive off, Michele and Robert are hurt when some small children angrily call them traitors, but take courage from the knowledge that their cause is just.

Directed by Jules Dassin  

Starring Joan Crawford, John Wayne, Philip Dorn, Reginald Owen, Albert Bassermann, more...

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