This Land Is Mine DVD
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Directed by Jean Renoir
Produced in 1943
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Charles Laughton gives one of the finest performances of his distinguished career in this powerful wartime story of a small town under Nazi occupation, says James Oliver.
As the second world war raged, Hollywood fought the good fight with a series of artful movies dramatising life in occupied Europe. This Land is Mine was Jean Renoir's contribution to the cycle: it's one of the best.
It's set in an unglamorous provincial town, in an unnamed European country not unlike the director's native France. When the Nazi invaders roll in, the locals react in different ways. Some resist, others collaborate. Schoolmaster Albert Lory (Laughton) is too cowardly to do either: he's a timid soul, dominated by his mother. But when the Nazis escalate efforts to crush the resistance, Albert discovers a courage he never knew he had.
Famously, Jean Renoir never found his rhythm in Hollywood and the American films tend to be the least regarded of his work. But, as This Land is Mine shows, any 'decline' was surely relative. No other studio film of this era understands the pain of occupation – or its compromises – so well. It shows Hollywood (if not Renoir, quite) at the top of its game.
James Oliver on 16th January 2012
Author of 147 reviews
Charles Laughton gives one of the finest performances of his long and distinguished career in this powerful wartime story of a small French town under Nazi occupation. Albert Lory (Charles Laughton) is a timid schoolmaster desperately trying to ignore the realities of the war - and secretly in love with his pretty fellow schoolteacher Louise (Maureen O'Hara). The horrors of the Nazi occupation however soon become all too real. Books are burned, Jews rounded up and hostages taken when armed saboteurs start to fight back.
Some townspeople, like Louise's Fiancé George (George Sanders), become collaborators. Others, including her brother Paul (Kent Smith), offer violent resistance. As those he loves and cares for begin to disappear or die around him, Albert realises he can no longer afford to be frightened. The Nazis are about to discover that just one man - eloquent, unafraid and fired by a fierce sense of justice - can be more dangerous than a hundred armed saboteurs
Publisher: Odeon Entertainment
Length: 103 mins
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Cat No: ODNF337
Format: DVD Colour