A film by Jacques Becker
Cast: André Bervil, Jean Keraudy, Michel Constantin
Just as 4 cell-mates are about to launch their elaborate escape from a tiny cell, a detainee from a cell-block under repair is transferred in. The 4 all face certain conviction & long sentences. Does the young new jail-mate have the same incentive & if so can they trust him. Director Jacques Becker used mainly non-actors for purposes of authenticity. In fact, one of his choices was actually involved in the 1947 escape. Becker died two weeks after completing the film. La Sante prison was replicated right down to the smallest details, thanks to the help of the three actual members of the escape whom Becker hired to serve as production consultants. Shot over a period of 10 weeks. Jean-Pierre Melville regarded this as one of the greatest French films ever made and he his right. It is based on a true story repairs has to be don on the cell block and a group of cell mate are planning to escape. Using the noise created by the construction work to disguise their own operations, they will dig a tunnel down through the bowels of the prison into the sewers, and then to freedom. Simple plan right but…..
Becker got some realism so he observe instead of directing like I said before he used non actors to get the realism too which work better, it has pure emotions intensity. The viewer connects to the characters through their body language, expressions and words. It feels that you are boxed in with them and you want to get out and can’t wait any longer. the suspense is fluid though out the film. The danger of discovery and capture by the prison authorities is always around the corner and real so real that you are impatient to see how they are going to get out and if the guard will ever found out what is going on. it is a tense little will made piece of an art film not to be missed.