René Clément

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo (1965) di Larry Collins e Dominique Lapierre. Scen.: Gore Vidal, Francis Ford Coppola, Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost, Claude Brulé. F.: Marcel Grignon. M.: Robert Lawrence. Scgf.: Willy Holt. Mus.: Maurice Jarre. Int.: Jean-Paul Belmondo (Yvon Morandat), Charles Boyer (dottor Monod), Leslie Caron (Françoise Labé), Jean-Pierre Cassel (tenente Henri Karcher), Bruno Cremer (colonnello Rol Tanguy), Claude Dauphin (colonnello Lebel), Alain Delon (Jacques Chaban Delmas), Kirk Douglas (generale Patton), Pierre Dux (Alexandre Parodi), Gert Fröbe (generale von Choltitz), Glenn Ford (generale Bradley), Jean-Louis Trintignant (Serge). Prod.: Paul Graetz per Transcontinental Films, Marianne Productions. DCP. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

After the commercial success of The Longest Day (1962), producer  Darryl F. Zanuck wanted to make a film about the liberation of Paris, but  he was beaten to the punch by Paul Graetz, the owner of Transcontinental Films, who managed to convince  Paramount to invest six million dollars in a story based on the bestseller by two journalists, Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. Graetz proposed the film’s direction to René Clément, having already produced the director’s brilliant libertine comedy Lovers, Happy Lovers! (1954). But violent quarrels troubled the relationship between the director and producer (who died shortly before the film’s release) since Graetz gave little freedom to the filmmaker of The Day and the Hour.
Clément had already made three films depicting the French Resistance. As he himself recognized, Paris brûle-t-il? is not a historical film but a magnificent, epic mosaic, with a talented cast of French and American stars, depicting the stages of the French capital’s liberation from the moment Hitler entrusted its command to General von Choltitz (Gert Fröbe). The general allegedly disobeyed the order to destroy the city,  preferring to surrender to De Gaulle’s soldiers, who liberated the capital with the US army.
Historically inaccurate, the film, however, confirms Clément’s great technical skill in the fighting sequences, shot from high above and at eye level in 180 real places in a ghostly Paris. His touch can especially be seen in the execution scene at the Cascade du Bois de Boulogne of the 30 students, handed over to the SS by the traitor Serge (a diabolic Trintignant). Despite being one of the first films to depict a German general in a human light, Paris brûle-t-il? was bitterly criticized in Germany and accused of being the instrument of an anti-German campaign exactly as had happened with Nanni Loy’s The Four Days of Naples.

Roberto Chiesi


Copy From

Restored in 4K by Paramount Pictures Archive in collaboration with Zoetrope at Roundabout laboratory, from a 35mm fine grain (2nd generation) and a 35mm dupe negative