Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bon Voyage (1944 film)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by Angus MacPhail and J.O.C. Orton from a story by John Blythe, Bon Voyage is a propaganda film made for the British Ministry of Information about a RAF officer who turns to the French Resistance to escape Nazi-occupied France during World War II. The short film is shown in two different perspectives of what is happening during World War II as it’s Hitchcock contribution to the British forces. Starring John Blythe. Bon Voyage is a compelling short film from Alfred Hitchcock.

The film is a simple story of a RAF officer recounting his story to intelligence officers in London as he had been in Nazi-occupied France where he was aided by the French Resistance and some intelligent personnel to escape. Yet, it is told in a flashback as Sgt. John Dougall (John Blythe) discusses how he escaped and all of the things he had to do to survive with the help of the Resistance. The script has a great structure where its first half is about Sgt. Dougall’s recount of the events but then there’s a second half where the intelligence officers reveal some things that Sgt. Dougall didn’t expect but also events that are shown in a different perspective which makes the story far more intriguing.

Alfred Hitchcock’s direction is actually quite simple as he doesn’t go into many stylistic elements yet does maintain some air of suspense and intrigue into his compositions. Especially as many of the interior settings has Hitchcock creating some eerie scenes as it play into people trying desperately to do things in secrecy as Hitchcock maintains that moment of suspense. Even as he would create scenes set in the same location and show something different as it reveals a lot of what went on from a different point of view. While Hitchcock’s approach to the drama and Sgt. Dougall’s recounts to his officers are simple. The film is told in French rather than in English as it play into the world that is Nazi-occupied France while Hitchcock would also do something offbeat where Sgt. Dougall would recount everything to his superiors in French. Overall, Hitchcock creates a fascinating and engaging short film about a RAF officer trying to escape Nazi-occupied France.

Cinematographer Gunther Krampf does excellent work with the film‘s black-and-white photography to play into the suspense with its usage of shadows and light for many of the nighttime interior scenes. Art director J. Charles Gilbert does fantastic work with the look of the office where Sgt. Dougall tells his report as well as the scenes set in France. The film’s music by Benjamin Frankel is wonderful for its orchestral-based score from its sound of military-style music to some eerie pieces for the suspenseful moments in the film. While the film’s cast are largely French actors who were un-credited due to the fact that it was made during World War II where France was under the control of Nazi-Germany. They do provide some amazing performances while John Blythe’s role as Sgt. John Dougall is superb as an officer trying to survive as well as state what he encountered during his time in Nazi-occupied France.

Bon Voyage is a marvelous short film from Alfred Hitchcock that fans of the director should seek out. While it is a propaganda film, it is still an interesting gem from the director as it bears some of the hallmarks of his approach to suspense. In the end, Bon Voyage is a remarkable film from Alfred Hitchcock.

Alfred Hitchcock Films: (Number 13) - (The Pleasure Garden) - (The Blackguard) - (The Mountain Eagle) - (The Lodger) - (A Story of the London Fog) - (The Ring) - (Downhill) - (The Farmer’s Wife) - (Easy Virtue) - (Champagne) - (The Manxman) - (Blackmail) - (Juno and the Paycock) - (Murder!) - (The Skin Game) - (Mary) - (Lord Camber’s Ladies) - (Rich and Strange) - (Number Seventeen) - (Waltzes from Vienna) - (The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 film)) - The 39 Steps - (Secret Agent) - (Sabotage) - (Young and Innocent) - The Lady Vanishes - (Jamaica Inn) - (Rebecca) - (Foreign Correspondent) - (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) - Suspicion - (Saboteur) - (Shadow of a Doubt) - Lifeboat - (Spellbound) - (Notorious) - (The Paradine Cage) - Rope - (Under Capricorn) - (Stage Fright) - Strangers on a Train - I Confess - Dial M for Murder - Rear Window - To Catch a Thief - (The Trouble with Harry) - The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 film) - (The Wrong Man) - Vertigo - North by Northwest - Psycho - The Birds - Marnie - (Torn Curtain) - (Topaz) - (Frenzy) - (Family Plot)

© thevoid99 2016

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