Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Once branded himself by the House Un-American Activities Committee, award-winning director Martin Ritt focuses on the cruel branding of five women in this standard wartime drama. Some of his better-known films (The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, Norma Rae) also deal with the question of social and ethical choices in the face of pressure. In this story, the savagery of the Yugoslav partisans as they fight off Nazi occupation forces is also vented on five women accused of Nazi sympathies because of their sexual association with one German officer. The women (played by Silvana Mangano, Vera Miles, Barbara Bel Geddes, Jeanne Moreau, and Carla Gravina) have their heads shaved in order to brand them as traitors. What the partisans did to the German officer (Steve Forrest) in revenge for sleeping with these women was much worse. Intermittently shocking, the film with its excess cruelty and hatreds stands as a good indictment against war and its causes.
war, anti-war, atrocity, conflict, enemy, humiliation, Nazism, ostracism, partisan, patriotism, resistance, scorn, soldier, underground [counterculture], war-atrocities, woman