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

12 customer reviews

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(Jan 11, 2011)
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Criterion Collection
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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.

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

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Simone Signoret, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Mann
    • Directors: Jean-Pierre Melville
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: French
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • 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 (12 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0047P5FSQ
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,372 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Army of Shadows (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By RMurray847 VINE VOICE on November 15, 2012
    Format: Blu-ray
    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.
    Read more ›
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    3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Oleson TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 15, 2012
    Format: Blu-ray
    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 By B. Adducchio on November 27, 2013
    Format: Blu-ray
    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 By Stephanie De Pue VINE VOICE on June 26, 2011
    Format: Blu-ray
    "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 (
    ...Read more ›
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