Hostages (1943)

Genres - Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Luise Rainer's last Hollywood film was the economically produced wartime drama Hostages. Adapted from the novel by Stefan Heym, the story is set in a Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakian village. Rainer plays Milada, the daughter of collaborationist Lev Preissinger (Oscar Homolka). Totally apolitical herself, Milada is won over to the anti-Nazi cause by resistance leader Paul Breda (Arturo de Cordova). The drama intensifies when a Nazi officer commits suicide; the Gestapo, hoping to justify future outrages, claim that the officer was murdered, arresting 26 villagers as hostages. The ending could classify as tragic, but in 1943 it was considered inspirational. With so much plot and so many characters, poor Luise Rainer has very little to do; if the film has any real star, it is William Bendix, who is superb as a deceptively slow-witted resistance fighter.

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Keywords

war, capture, collaborator, coroner, Czechoslovakia, death, escape, fortune [wealth], Germany, Gestapo, hostage, identity, investigator, killing, leader, Nazism, officer, resistance, revenge, soldier, suicide, underground [counterculture], weapons