09th Jul2019

‘Odette’ Blu-ray Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Anna Neagle, Trevor Howard, Marius Goring, Peter Ustinov, Bernard Lee, Alfred Schieske, Gilles Quéant, Marianne Walla, Fritz Wendhausen | Written by Warren Chetham Strode | Directed by Herbert Wilcox


World Wars are won on many fronts, and not only the ones that include battle. The war that was raged by the intelligence agencies is one that was secret during the war, but after we got to see the bravery normal people put to push the allied forces to success. This included women who worked in enemy territory as spies. One of the famous ones was the story of Odette.

When the call is made for holiday photographs from France to be sent to the intelligence agencies, Odette (Anna Neagle), a French woman living in France provides some. When the Special Operations Executive contact her, she decides to help them by being flown into Occupied France where she fought for the French resistance. Captured and tortured by the Gestapo she stays strong, refusing to identify her accomplices.

As with many true stories based around the World Wars, Odette is an inspirational story that shows the strength against adversity. What is somewhat rare though is that this classic film revolves around the experiences of a woman.

What is impressive is the strength of Odette and what she had to go through; this includes being captured by the Gestapo. What we do see here though is the age of the film in the way it tries to impact the audience when it comes to her experiences. We are told of the torture she goes through, where most modern films would go for a far more explicit style to try and get a reaction from those watching. This isn’t negative though; it does feel for some audiences it could go a little further.

What shines through though in Odette is the performance of Anna Neagle and the successful way she manages to show the strength of the woman she portrays. Even when she is tortured and sentenced to death, she still finds the strength to stay resolute and not reveal the details of her mission to the enemy.

One of the other more interesting characters is that of Colonel Henri (Marius Goring) a quite extravagant character who works to discover Odette and the people who are working for her. His lack of interest in the war and his attempt to detract himself from the responsibility of what happens to Odette adds a further element to the story, and of course gives her an enemy. Some of the stand-up moments is when she bites back against his attempts to show his regret over what is happening, which enables her to give speeches which are stand out moments in the film.

Odette is one of those movies that show a different side to the war, which were not surprisingly hidden away from the eyes of the public. The battle of women to fight for their country is one that is now celebrated, and the story of Odette is one that should be celebrated. Yes, what she went through should not have happened, but throughout she stayed strong and helped the Allied Powers win the war, which this movie so successfully shows.

Odette is available on DVD and Blu-ray now.

(Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek)

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