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Army of Shadows (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1969)

Lino Ventura , Paul Meurisse , Jean-Pierre Melville  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Army of Shadows (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Léon Morin, Priest (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Le Cercle Rouge (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Simone Signoret, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Mann
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Format: Blu-ray, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: January 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0047P5FSQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,836 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Army of Shadows (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

  • High-definition digital transfer of the 2004 restoration
  • Optional DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • Audio commentary featuring film historian Ginette Vincendeau
  • Interviews with Lhomme and editor Francoise Bonnot
  • On-set footage and excerpts from archival interviews
  • Jean-Pierre Melville et "L'armee des ombres" (2002)
  • Le journal de la Resistance (1944), a rare short documentary
  • Film restoration demonstration by Lhomme
  • Theatrical trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Amy Taubin

  • Editorial Reviews

    This masterpiece by Jean-Pierre Melville (Le doulos, Le cercle rouge) about the French Resistance went unreleased in the United States for thirty-seven years, until its triumphant theatrical debut in 2006. Atmospheric and gripping, Army of Shadows is Melville’s most personal film, featuring Lino Ventura (Le deuxième souffle), Paul Meurisse (Diabolique), Jean-Pierre Cassel (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie), and the incomparable Simone Signoret (Casque d’or, Diabolique) as intrepid underground fighters who must grapple with their conception of honor in their battle against Hitler’s regime.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    Originally released in 1969 under the French title "L'Armee des ombres" it was cleaned up and finally came to the U.S. in 2006. Most of us Yanks hear all the punch lines about the French and how they had to be bailed out by England and America in WW I & II. I'm not so sure any occupied country wouldn't have behaved similarly.

    Here we get a balanced look for the first time, for me anyway. Yes there were traitors and turncoats amongst the French population, but there was also the Resistance which is what this movie is all about. In a particularly chilling scene, the heroes grab one of the young "turncoats" take him to a hotel in order to execute him. No trial, but that was the Resistance way. They don't want to shoot him because of the noise and they can't find a knife to slit his throat. Finally the leader says we'll just have to strangle him. All the while the young man is listening while his demise is being discussed like a business transaction. Creepy!

    Ultimately the film is well acted, interesting, but also agonizingly slow at times and too long at 145 minutes. The Criterion folks do their usual fine job of transferring the restored film to Blu ray. It includes a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and a documentary, info on the restoration, interviews and a booklet of essays.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars MELVILLE GOES TO BLURAY AND THIS DEFINES COOL! February 7, 2014
    Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best French films I've seen. November 27, 2013
    Army of Shadows is a masterpiece of 20th century French cinema. It's the story of a group of Resistance fighters during World War Two, trying to stop Nazis from taking over and destroying their country. The movie contains some really atmospheric scenes in which you as the audience don't know who is fighting for who, and what will happen next.

    Army of Shadows kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. It's a really obscure movie, but Art House cinema fans will really be intrigued by it, and people who want to watch World War Two movies definitely need to see it.
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    4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    "Army of Shadows," ("L'Armee des Ombres") (1969), clocks in at 145 minutes of classic French cinema, in color this time. It tells a dark, gritty dramatic wartime story of the French underground resistance that sprang up during the World War II German occupation of this Gallic country. The film was set in 1942. It was based upon a novel written by much-honored writer Joseph Kessel, ( Belle De Jour, novel; and Belle de Jour [Blu-ray],film), co-written as a screen play and directed by cult favorite Jean-Pierre Melville(Bob le Flambeur: The Criterion Collection]), both of whom had belonged to "le resistance" during the war years.

    Melville's experiences as a member of the Resistance help to inform this movie about a respected civil engineer who becomes one of the chiefs of the underground movement. Philippe Gerbier (Lino Ventura-- Touchez Pas au Grisbi: The Criterion Collection) is intelligent, resourceful, and brave. Gerbier's network is urban-based, rather than rural, centered in Paris and Lyons. This small band of partisans is in constant danger of arrest and torture by the Nazis. Principal players include Paul Meurisse (
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    2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    I knew almost literally nothing about ARMY OF SHADOWS before I sat down to watch it. I had bought the Blu-Ray because I'm trying to watch more movies that are "good for me" I've been gobbling up Criterion releases.

    Well, even though they've had a few selections that I haven't been too excited about, ARMY OF SHADOWS fits squarely into the successful pile. It's the slow-paced yet strangely riveting tale of the early days of the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation of France. It introduces us, in a seemingly haphazard fashion, to a variety of members of the group. While the focus is squarely on the high-level Gerbier (played in masterful fashion by Lino Ventura), we meet quite a variety of folks. The movie begins as Gerbier is being driven to prison. He's introduced to us as a mild-mannered, dry-humored man who looks like an accountant. He's actually an engineer, and despite his politeness and his very slow pace...he's a man of action, as we learn during his rather daring escape.

    As we learn more about Gerbier and the folks working with him, we also begin to understand the challenges these brave people face. When one is caught, the immediate fear is that this person will be tortured and give up names of other members. How they deal with their own is at the heart of much of the film (in fact, we don't really see anyone engaging in any real resistance, per se). One of the most remarkable sequences revolves around how Gerbier and his cohorts handle a traitor in their midst. The scene is slow and steady and calm...yet what happens is almost unbelievable for the men involved and fills the viewer with a sense of dread and a deeper understanding of what it means to live a dangerous double life.

    I hesitate to describe any more events of the film.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    2.0 out of 5 stars If you like meaningful looks and pauses, you will like this movie
    Boring with a slow pace, and because it had subtitles, you won't be able to supplement the lack of stimulation from this movie by surfing the internet on your laptop. Read more
    Published 18 months ago by Billy-Bob Garcia
    1.0 out of 5 stars Too slow.
    Spends too much time on the in between parts that characters go through. Is memorable though. Well filmed. Could have edited out like 1/2 hour and it would bother no one.
    Published on January 24, 2012 by Shock Writer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Hatred (and Blu-ray remastering)
    This superb transfer by Criterion is well worth repurchasing if you own an older transfer. Seeing the quality in this Blu-ray version, I finally began to understand why I needed to... Read more
    Published on May 10, 2011 by Paul Healy
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Empire 5 Star 500 - #35
    What are your links to the outside world? This is an outstanding film. It takes you inside the French Resistance during World War II. Read more
    Published on May 1, 2011 by The Inquisitor
    4.0 out of 5 stars Overrated and depressing
    This is an iconic movie in the style of 1960's French "Nouvelle Vague" filmaking which follows a resistance cell in occupied France 1942-44. Read more
    Published on March 5, 2011 by Doctor.Generosity
    5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Masterpiece
    I just watched this again for the second time this morning, and I echo those who have rightly called this one of cinema's all-time high water marks. Read more
    Published on December 16, 2010 by Todd and In Charge
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