Aventure malgache

Synopsis: The Moliere players are in their dressing room, getting ready to go on set. One actor mentions to another that his face reminds him of an opportunist turncoat he knew when he was in the Resistance. He then relates the adventure that he had in the Resistance, running an illegal radio station and dodging the Nazis.
32 min

The entire world has heard about

the dramatic episodes

of the French Resistance.

No one knows better than you

the importance of this heroic period

in the history of the French nation.

The story that we are about to tell

will teach you nothing.

That, we know.

We tell it, because it is true.

And because it shows that,

across the seas,

in the farthest reaches

of the French Empire

we are one and the same.


Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Produced at Welwyn Studios, England

with the collaboration

of French-speaking writers

artists and technicians

working in Great Britain.

London, 1944.

A handful of actors in London,

were asked

by the French military authorities

to form a theatre company

and perform shows

for soldiers and civilians

but also for the many English

who know and love France.

One of the company's actors was,

until the war,

a lawyer in Madagascar.

It is the 28th June 1940.

Listen to his story...

- What's the problem, old boy?

- I don't understand a thing, that's all.

What don't you understand?

This character they've given me

in their new play.

I feel like I'm feeling my way in the dark,

I can't find anything.

- Let me tell you,

your acting is wonderful. - Yes?

- But you're playing a different role.

- Thanks for nothing.

Think of someone

and base your character on them.

Ah, if only you'd known

my old friend Michel!

- Michel Simon?

- It's not a Michel Simon role.

I wasn't talking about Michel Simon,

I was referring to Jean Michel,

Head of the Police in Madagascar.

But my character

is not a policeman,

quite the opposite,

he's a big time gangster.

And secondly, I don't know Madagascar

or your friend Michel.

Even so, you can still

base your character on him.

It's funny

because you look like him.

The first time that I saw you,

I said to myself,

"Fancy that!

He's the spitting image of Michel."

It would be easy, very easy

to get the two of you confused.

And you'd agree,

had you been in court with me

in Antananarivo in April 1940.

I declare that my client is innocent.

An importer of his standing has

no reason to breach the customs laws.

The rolls of silk

that were intended for him

disappeared from the

Tamatave custom house shop!

But I assure you

that my client did not steal them.

Who else but him

would have had an interest

in making them disappear?

Those who had an interest

in their being misplaced.

Who then?

These gentlemen from

the Police Directorate, for instance.

Whom I formally accuse of plotting,

conniving, and scheming this entire scam.

This is a complete fiction, stay tuned to

find out what happens in the next episode.

The worst detective novels

are always written by pseudo-detectives.

Kindly refrain from entering into any

controversial debate with the witness!

Your questions

must be addressed through me.

In that case, I accuse, firstly,

The Police Services

of conspiring to share amongst themselves

the 20% incentive

officially paid to those

who inform the authorities

about a violation of customs laws.

The public prosecutor has requested

a fine of 200,000 francs

which, along with the tax

and charges,

comes to over

650,000 francs to pay.

The gentlemen

of the Police Directorate

would therefore be collecting

over 100,000 francs

including the Head of Police himself.

That's quite enough.

What do you take us for?

For dangerous people

who have transformed Madagascar

into a fiefdom of exploitation.

Your Honour, I object!

Mr Clarus, careful what you say!

Your Honour, would you ask

the witness, Michel,

whether, in addition to the financial

interest he has in this affair,

he has a more direct

and personal interest?

Here we go again, fanciful ramblings!

Oh really!

I ask the court clerk to please

take note of the following question.

What was it that Michel attempted to do

to my client's wife?

Your Honour, I object!

If you continue with these

personal attacks against the witness,

I shall prevent you from speaking.

I shall take measures

against such an accusation

to defend my honour!

Honour? Come on now!

Nothing would prevent me

from telling you straight

that you are a gangster, Michel.

Gentlemen, this is intolerable!

The court shall enforce

all the necessary sanctions.

Hearing adjourned.

See you soon, Michel,

see you soon.

You'll pay for this, watch out.

Yes, until the next instalment,

see you soon, Michel.

Yes, I'm beginning to see this chap now:

a fat, vicious rascal.

No, you're on the wrong track,

imagine more of a harmless dandy

A dandy, ah, that's different then.

Why didn't you expose Michel's schemes,

didn't you have any proof?

No proof, my dear boy!

I had more than enough proof to get him,

and I would have done...

but for a small announcement

on the radio!

...to ask if they are ready

to join me in finding,

between soldiers,

after the struggle and for honour,

the means of ending hostilities.

Armistice, come on!

It's treachery, more like.

Good god, a Marshal of France,

Ptain, the hero of Verdun.

Will the veterans of Madagascar

accept this surrender?

Never! Never!

My friends!

- We must take immediate action.

- Yes, it's over to you, Mr Clarus.

If you lead the movement,

we'll follow you.

We have to contact

the other divisions on the island.

- Tananarive, Tamatave, Majonka.

- We have to keep up the struggle.

- England is not yet lost.

- And we're not lost either!

- Mass uprising!

- Let's defend the island!

One moment, my friends.

We must remain calm,

keep our heads, eh?

First, we must put ourselves at the

disposal of the military authorities.

The lady, these gentlemen

and myself

are part of a single council

that brings together all the

veteran groups who were formally rivals.

We have over 5,000 members

who wish to place themselves

at your service, General.

Thank you for your Sacred Union.

What are your intentions?

- To continue the war!

- At England's side!

- To keep Madagascar French!

- Despite the collapse of the Metropole.

To help our allies, one day,

drive the Krauts out of France.

Our first task is to organise

the defence of the island

against any attempts at an invasion.

If Japan enters the war soon,

our military base in Diego Suarez

will appear very attractive to them.

Allow me, General, but without wishing

to appear pessimistic,

we'll need arms to defend ourselves:

cannons, planes, tanks, submarines.

Where will we find these things?

I say that we must rally

all those with the desire to fight.

Don't you worry,

they'll find the means.

- England will help us.

- South Africa too.

In the name of helping us,

they'll send troops over,

occupy the big island and keep it.

Re-read your history books.

England already stole

India and Canada from us

South Africa has always wanted

Madagascar and its wealth,

its minerals, and other riches.

Let's be realistic.

Your British friends could easily

one day become your masters

Yes, let's be realistic.

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Angus MacPhail

Angus MacPhail (8 April 1903 – 22 April 1962) was an English screenwriter, active from the late 1920s, who is best remembered for his work with Alfred Hitchcock.He was born in London and educated at Westminster School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he studied English and edited Granta. He first worked in the film business in 1926 writing subtitles for silent films. He then began writing his own scenarios for Gaumont British Studios and later Ealing Studios under Sir Michael Balcon. During World War II he made films for the Ministry of Information. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s favourite devices for driving the plots of his stories and creating suspense was what he called the MacGuffin. Ivor Montagu, who worked with Hitchcock on several of his British films, attributes the coining of the term to MacPhail. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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