Passage to Marseille

Synopsis: As French bomber crews prepare an air raid from a base in England, we learn the story of Matrac, a French journalist who opposed the Munich Pact. Framed for murder and sent to Devil's Island, he and four others escape. They are on a ship bound for Marseilles when France surrenders and fascist sympathizer Major Duval tries to seize the ship for Vichy.
Genre: Adventure, Drama, War
Director(s): Michael Curtiz
Production: Warner Home Video
109 min

Navigator to pilot.

Five minutes to target area.

Bombs away, sir.

There's another load, you...

- Bombs all away, sir.

- Good work, men. Let's get out of here.

Matrac, we are approaching

the town of Romilly.

Thank you.

- Mama?

- Yes, darling.

- Is it Dad?

- I'm not sure. You be quiet, darling.

- Mother will be right back.

- All right.

Pilot to bombardier.

Open bomb bay doors.

Oh, Jean, darling. Till we meet again.

You were to have gone

with the Wing Commander, Mr. Manning,

but I happen to be rejoining my outfit

not far from your own destination,

so they asked me

to bring you down from London.

- And what is my...

- Your what, sir?

Oh, nothing, I was about to ask

what is my destination.

- A military secret, no doubt.

- Sorry, sir.

I'm lost, and I admit it.

Haven't the slightest idea where we are.

Not a signpost, not a marked road.

We're somewhere near the Channel,

unless I miss my guess.

Even for a war correspondent,

this is pretty darned mysterious.

Interesting, though.

- Here we are, sir.

- Really?

- Yes, sir.

- We're at an airdrome?

Yes, sir,

the base of the famous squad Victoire.

I can't believe it.

Where are the barracks,

the wind sleeves, the tarmac runs?

How do they operate here?

Surprising, isn't it?

The French make out quite nicely.

They're an intensely practical people, sir.

- Will you get out, sir?

- Right.

- This is headquarters.

- I'll stow your bag, sir.

- Thank you. Do you mind if I take a look?

- Not at all, sir.

Well, I must say I'm surprised.

This is something new

in my experience of military airdromes.

To think that all these incredible bombings

come from a quiet place like this.

I suppose

those cows are squadron mascots.

Yes, sir.

They've brought us any amount of luck.

They're English, of course,

merely on loan to the Frenchmen,

as they couldn't very well bring

their own cows with them.

Jerseys, sir.

The milk is excellent, if you care for milk.

It seems a strange environment for one

of the deadliest squadrons in the service.

- The quiet, you mean?

- Yeah.

Oh, the French don't mind it.

As a matter of fact, they rather enjoy it.

It has a way of livening up a bit

from time to time.

And now, if I may, sir,

I'll take you to the liaison officer

between the Free French squadron

and our own Captain Freycinet.

Come in.

- Glad to see you, Hastings.

- I've brought Mr. Manning.

Mr. Manning, Captain Freycinet.

- You're very welcome, Mr. Manning.

- Thank you.

Well, I'll leave you

in each other's good hands.

What? You must stay to dinner.

There's a place laid for you.

Sorry, sir. Have to push on. Orders.

Well, goodbye, sir.

I'll have your bag put in your bunk.

- Thank you. Good night.

- Thank you, Hastings.

- Au revoir, Captain.

- Good luck to you.

- Would you like to take your coat off?

- I would, thanks.

Apritifs will be in.

- Or would you prefer a cocktail?

- Oh, no, that's all right. Thanks.

- Sit down.

- Thank you.

Captain Freycinet,

the purpose of my visit here...

Oh, I know the purpose of your visit.

Word came this afternoon

from the Air Ministry.

You've come to see some French traitors,

as Monsieur Laval would call us.

No, Captain,

I've come to see some Free Frenchmen.

To get to know them and to write

about them for my news syndicate.

I think we can do with all

the understanding we can scrape together

in these touchy times.

Well, you can see a few of us here.

As for anything more...

Thank you.

Do you think that

Marshal Ptain considers you as traitors,

as well as Pierre Laval?


And yet I try to be charitable

in my judgments, Mr. Manning.

I try to remember that

Marshal Ptain is an old man now

and in the hands of the barbarians.

votre sant.

- You've seen him these late years?

- No, but I did once.

Years ago, during the Battle of Verdun.

He visited our squadron, which was then

at Senard, at the foot of the Argonne.

You were flying in the last war?

Yes, I was a pilot

in the Escadrille Lafayette.

The Escadrille Lafayette?

Why, you must have done your training

with us, Mr. Manning.

Why, we're old comrades.

Here, come and have some dinner.

I, too, was a pilote de chasse

in Squad 26 of the Cigognes Group.

You know, many times did I see

the Indian-head insignia

of your squadron on patrol.

Now we meet for the first time.

Had I known

you were an old pilote of our service,

we would have messed with the squadron.

Oh, that's all right.

Perhaps I can see them later.

Why, of course. They're in that room.

Have you noticed? Not a sound from them.

Remember the old days?

The laughter, the gay talk in every mess?

Phonograph going full tilt.

Now, poor devils.

We're all like that, Free Frenchmen.

We find it hard to be merry.

- I understand they're bombers.

- American Flying Fortresses.

Although, we did begin here three years

ago with a few of our own Farmans.

They crossed the Channel as a unit

the day the armistice was signed.

And you came with them?

My dear Mr. Manning, you flatter me.

I'm getting along, and I'm blind in one eye.

No, no, I'm nothing but a liaison officer,

and I reached England by another route.

They're going out now.

Just to remind the Boche of our existence.

As soon as we finish, I'll take you down

to the hangars if you like.

Thanks, I'd like to very much.

Mind the step.

Just over the rise and you can see them.

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Casey Robinson

Kenneth Casey Robinson (October 17, 1903 – December 6, 1979) was an American producer and director of mostly B movies and a screenwriter responsible for some of Bette Davis' most revered films. Film critic Richard Corliss once described him as "the master of the art – or craft – of adaptation." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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