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Odette (1950, Anna Neagle, Trevor Howard)

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Odette tells the story of Odette Churchill (Anna Neagle), a brave Frenchwoman living in the UK and married to an Englishman who joins the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War. She was flown into occupied France where she fought with the French resistance. Captured and tortured by the Gestapo, she refused to identify her accomplices.

Neagle accompanied Odette and Churchill to France to visit the various places in which their wartime experiences had taken place and, during the making of the film, Neagle wore the clothes that Odette had worn during her imprisonment. In addition to Neagle’s commanding performance in the title role, Wilcox’s strong direction elicited superb supporting portrayals, notably from Trevor Howard as Peter Churchill, Peter Ustinov as a French radio operator and, especially, from Marius Goring as the Intelligence officer who had arrested Churchill and Odette. Max Greene’s icy monochrome cinematography, William C Andrews’ impressive art direction and some fine editing by W. Lewthwaite added to the film’s considerable impact.

production details
UK | 124 minutes | 1950

Director: Herbert Wilcox
Writer: Warren Chetham-Strode, based on the book Odette by Jerrard Tickell

cast
Bernard Lee as Jack
Peter Ustinov as Lt. Alex Rabinovich
Anna Neagle as Odette
Marius Goring as Colonel Henri
Wolf Frees as Major (uncredited)
Trevor Howard as Captain Peter Churchill
Alfred Schieske as Camp Commandant
Gilles Quéant as Jacques (as Gilles Queant)
Marianne Walla as S.S. Wardress
Fritz Wendhausen as Colonel (as F.R. Wendhousen)
Marie Burke as Mme. Gliere (uncredited)
Liselotte Goettinger as German POW Camp Officer (uncredited)