Les Otages (1939)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - France, USA  |  
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No less a literary luminary than Jean Anouilh was responsible for the dialogue exchanges in Les Otages (The Hostages). Set during WWI, the film takes place in a tiny French village, occupied by the Germans. When an enemy officer is killed, five villagers are taken hostage, sentenced to execution if the guilty party does not come forward. Through an incredible coincidence, one of the hostages is town mayor Charpin, who not only knows the killer's identity, but is also an accessory after the fact. A rather abrupt deux ex machina provides the film with a happy ending, especially for young lovers Jean Paqui and Annie Vernay, whose forbidden rendezvous precipitated the killing in the first place.