Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bon Voyage & Aventure Malgache (1944)

Hitchcock! Hitchcock! Hitchcock!
You think that's a bad moustache, you should see the extreme close up. UGH *Shudder* Gross

Genre: War Drama Shorts (UK)

Starring: Frenchmen

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (The Pleasure Garden; Foreign Correspondant)
Overview: French people patting themselves on the back, in their tales of how they fought the Big Bad Krauts.

Hey Kiddies,

Rather than go down that list you all know and hate by now, telling you in my Acting category how the French act even haughtier than highborn Anglos, I thought I'd make this a shorter review, as these two films are worth about as much of my time as [something worthy of a witty quip except I don't want to waste any more of my time].

One day, as I have discovered Hitchcock is wont to do, our brilliant director featured so prominently in Blog-O-Squish, decided to take a little spill, fall off the wagon and go make garbage following the success of Saboteur and Shadow Of A Doubt. By now I'm no longer surprised that he'd go off slumming rather than build up a proper reputation for himself, but there was plenty of time to go and do that later. I digress. The British Ministry Of Information asked good ol' Hitch if he wouldn't mind making films about the French Resistance. He agreed and made Aventure Malgache, a 30-minute story about French resistance fighters in the colony of Madagascar. Huffy over-polite dialogue teaches us that there was a French military base in Madagascar, and that the French were hoping the British would come save their asses... again. Lesson learned: Madagascar was a French colony, news to me.

The second film he made was Bon Voyage, a 26-minute film where a British pilot got shot down and now he's in league with French spies to get out. Wikipedia dares compare this to Kurosawa's Rashomon, a story told in five perspectives. In Bon Voyage, a soldier is asked what happened, then he's told what REALLY happened. I wouldn't even dream of comparing the two, please. Anyway, mild adventure, espionage and double-cross aside, I'm extremely glad this was a short. Lesson learned: 'debrief' is a fancy term for 'He Said, She Said'.

Now my recommendation to you, fine Hitchcock fan, is to only see this if you're obsessed with knowing everything about a subject. Otherwise watch something good. For as much as the lighting work is superb in this, there's full features that do just as great a job of showing Hitch's penchant for German Expressionism. Ironic having German influence in a French Resistance short.

Art seeps in where Armies fear to tread, I guess.

*Unworthy of wit*

Overall Rating: 65% (More Like Good Riddance)

Aftertaste: I'm glad I squoze this in between features rather than making a night of it. I'm sure Girlfriend Of Squish appreciates the sparing of such a thing.