This French-made Yank-backed spectacle traces the uprising in Paris leading to the oncoming Allies changing their plans to invade the city rather than bypass it, as intended. Underlying dilemma faces the German commander, General Von Choltitz, who has been ordered to destroy Paris, if necessary or if it could not be held. The title is from Hitler's maniacal telephone demands to know if Paris was burning.

This French-made Yank-backed spectacle traces the uprising in Paris leading to the oncoming Allies changing their plans to invade the city rather than bypass it, as intended. Underlying dilemma faces the German commander, General Von Choltitz, who has been ordered to destroy Paris, if necessary or if it could not be held. The title is from Hitler’s maniacal telephone demands to know if Paris was burning.

It is built on the premature uprising within the French resistance groups, and then the tensions as Paris is undermined with explosives and Von Choltitz hesitates as he realizes that Hitler is mad and that destruction of Paris will not help the German cause or the now hopeless Nazi war effort.

Gert Frobe has the pivotal part as Von Choltitz who is a career soldier and not above destroying Paris if a necessity. He plays it with proper despair and does not overdo the sentimental aspect of the man.

The street fighting is done with fervor and dynamism and little cameos gives an ironic, tender, dramatic, pathetic feel to the overall happening.

1966: Nominations: Best B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction

Is Paris Burning?

US - France

Production

Paramount/Seven Arts. Director Rene Clement; Producer Paul Graetz; Screenplay Gore Vidal, Francis Coppola, Marcel Moussy; Camera Marcel Grignon; Editor Robert Lawrence; Music Maurice Jarre; Art Director Willy Holt

Crew

(B&W) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1966. Running time: 185 MIN.

With

Jean-Paul Belmondo Charles Boyer Gert Frobe Anthony Perkins Simone Signoret Orson Welles
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