Le Sauveur (The Savior) (1971)
Director: Michel Mardore.
Starring: Horst Buchholz (Claude), Muriel Catalá (Nanette), Hélène Vallier (La mère de Nanette), Roger Lumont (Le père de Nanette), Henri Vilbert (Le conseiller Flouret), Danièle Ajoret (Nanette adulte), Michel Delahaye (Monnery), Jean-Pierre Sentier (Le mari de Nanette), Frédéric Norbert (Henri).
an Englishman is found in the woods by a French girl and he tells her he has come to organize resistance to the Nazis; but is he what he says he is?
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the compete film.
A young girl reads a book while she lays against a tree. She hears some noises and goes to check on them. She finds a man by the stream there. She is not sure of him so she starts to walk away from him. He says he is taking a foot bath.
He says her name is Nanette. He says his name is Claude. He asks her for help in getting up. He asks her to look for a branch with a Y-at the top so he can make a crutch out of it. She brings him such a branch and he makes a crutch.
He gives her some chocolate that he has in his bag. She tells Claude: "My father says if all the French people were more obedient, things would be a lot better. He says too that Marshal Petan knows his job. We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, but the Marshal has saved France."
Claude asks what the local think about the French Resistance. "What, those bandits who murder and steal, who sabotage the trains. They were the ones who were after you and wounded you." She says they better inform the gendarmes, but Claude says forget about it.
He asks Nanette how old is she? Fourteen and a half years old.
He tells her the German is a enemy of France, but she says not so much now. There is peace and the Germans are not really bothering the French now,.
He then tells her to hand him over to the gendarmes if she wants, because he is an enemy of the Germans. Nanette starts feeling bad for Claude and she says he can come to her house now because nobody is there. She will hide him and bring him food.
Her parents and brother are now working in the fields. She takes him up to the attic room. Nanette says nobody comes up here anymore. He will be safe here. She fixes up a bed for him. He sleeps awhile.
Later Nanette brings him some wine, some bread and butter and a baked potato. Claude is not impressed by the quality of the food. He keeps saying anti-German remarks and Nanette criticizes the English and their bombing of civilians. He says he was in England as a refugee. He says many English civilians die in German bombing raids and he has come to help put a stop to that. Last night he was parachuted into France. The pilots missed the drop zone and he was hurt when he hit the ground. He goes on to see that he must join up with the partisans. "Those are the people you call ‘terrorists’."
It’s dinner time in the farm house. The family sits at the table. No one is saying much at the table. They are eating cabbage soup and eating bread. They have red wine with their supper.
After dinner there is little to no talking among the family members.
The next morning Nanette brings him some more food and drink. He asks her to sing a daily hymn that the students sing in school. She says she is too shy, but the insists that she sing it.
Nanette is sniveling and is asks why she is crying? She says he is being nasty to her. He says she started it.
Nanette washes his right foot and massages it too. It’s obvious that she is getting to like Claude more and more. She even says: "I love you, Englishman."
They have a little lunch using the child dishes for little girls. After their lunch, Nanette says she is too hot, so she takes off her dress which is all she has on. That leaves her completely naked. (Brief nudity.) She lays on her stomach on the bed next to Claude.
Claude shows Nanette that his foot is all better. They arrange to meet outside at night. Claude climbs out the window goes across the roof and down a ladder placed there by Nanette. Nanette has prepared a place for them in the midst of the corn field where they can be alone.
Claude lights up a cigarette and starts smoking it. He lets her try a few puffs. She talks about the two of them running away and living off the farm land. She would take care of Claude and wash his clothes by the stream. She tells him: "I love you so much."
Claude has gone out on the grounds of the farm. Nanette scolds him saying that she told him not to go out during the day. But then she quickly suggests that they go swimming. Everybody’s in the field today doing the threshing.
They go down by a small river. (Some nudity.) The star horsing around. (Brief full frontal male nudity.) Out of the river they lay down in the sun in the field. (Some nudity.) She asks if Claude loves her as much as she love him? He seems irritated and says yes, yes.
He gets up and starts getting dressed saying that he has got to get into contact with the Resistance. She rushes up to him, still naked, saying that she doesn’t want him to leave. He says, if she wants him to stay, she must find someone in the village who has connections with the Resistance.
Nanette talks about the French who wear black uniforms with death head skulls on their uniforms. Claude says those are Frenchmen who are SS men and they are the worst butchers in all of France, including the Germans.
She says to Claude that he is the savior of France. He tells her to stop talking nonsense and find someone in the village he can link up with. And he warns to be careful of what she says to the others because it could put him in danger of being captured by the Germans.
They come back to the house and have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They hears some noises upstairs, so they both rush around cleaning up the table and then they rush upstairs to the attic.
Dad comes up to the attic and looks around the place. Nanette and Claude hide. She sees that Claude has his pistol in his hand and is worried about that. Dad looks around some more, but then goes back downstairs. Nanette asks Claude if he would have shot her father, but Claude says no. He just would have scared her father, that’s all.
Nanette goes out looking for locals connected with the Resistance. She does so dressed inappropriately. She dresses too sexily with the blouse part of her dress being worn virtually skin tight. The farmer she chooses to talk to says that Nanette is now a very pretty girl.
Nanette tells the farmer her problem with an Englishman having jumped into France by the English air force. She asks if she should go to the gendarmes and tell them about the stranger. The farmer tells her that sometimes keep quiet is the best strategy.
Nanette arranges a meeting between Claude and the farmer at the local bridge at night. She asks him about him taking her with him, but Claude says she belongs with her family. She will soon forget him after he’s gone. Nanette starts crying. She says she wants to marry him.
That night Nanette is not hungry and does not eat her dinner. Dad tells her that tomorrow she will come out with the rest of the family and work in the fields. After supper she goes up to the empty attic and cries some more.
The next morning Nanette hides away in the attic, while her family calls out for her to come with them to work the fields. Later Nanette walks around some empty field and then into the village. She runs into some French SS troops. Some of the men start flirting with her. She just says she wants to see the man who runs the granary here. They tells her where to find him.
She confesses to the man that she harbored a "terrorist" in her house. She was too afraid to say anything. He tells her she was right to come to him. He has given his two sons for the cause. They are both in the SS now. He says she probably saw them downstairs outside of the factory.
Nanette says the man made her two unthinkable things and she wants him to find this terrorist and kill him. She then turns and runs back home. In the fields she picks some blackberries and eats them. She see a lot of explosions go off near the outskirts of the village. She also hears machine gun fire. She goes to investigate what’s happening.
She now starts for home. A German SS soldier grabs her by the arm and rushes her over to a motorcycle side car. Then they driver her to the French SS headquarters. They take her inside and she there finds her Claude all dressed up as the commander of the French SS unit. He greets her warmly.
Nanette is stunned at the sight. She stays back from him. He tells her that he did not abandon and he came back to her soon than she thought possible. He goes for a ride with her in the back of a convertible German car.
She tells him that he made a fool of her, but he denies that. He loved and respected her, but he had to find out where the terrorists were hiding in order to destroy them. "Thanks to you, we have destroyed the terrorists you hate." She must have heard the sounds of the recent fighting and he is so proud of her because that was all her doing.
They drive via roads that would have been dangerous before, but now the SS commander says the Resistance has been done away with.
He has the convoy of troops stop. He tells Nanette that she denounced a hero and she sheltered a traitor. The feeling of guilt will follow her all of her life. She will have unwelcome flashbacks to what happened.
She says she still loves him and holds him tight. The convoy starts up again. They go to the local village. The soldiers start rounding up many of the villagers and having them stand together in groups on the side walks. Men are in one group and the women and children are forced into the local cathedral.
The SS commander shoots down the man that was collaborating with him. He goes back to the car and Nanette and has her kiss the hilt of his SS sword. He explains to her that she started the ball rolling and all these villagers gathered here are here because of what she started. And all the villagers now know that Nanette betrayed them.
Nanette starts crying about what is being done in her name. He wants her to give the order, but she remains crying. Claude gives the order and all the men are mowed down with sub-machine guns.
Quite a few years later, Claude returns to the village where he committed some of his war crimes. He goes to see the husband of Nanette. He was not one of the original villagers. He came after the end of the war.
Now he calls Nanette out to serve the German some wine. She is nervous and knocks over on the glasses used to drink the wine. She goes back inside the house. She soon returns but this time with a shotgun.
Nanette aims it at the German. She says: "For you, Englishman." She shoots Claude dead.
Spoiler Warning: Good movie. In a rural village, a very sadistic fellow uses a fourteen year old French girl to help him find connections to the French Resistance. The girl is extremely naive, but most 14 year old people are pretty naive. And the man really cons her. He gets her to fall in love with him. He doesn't have sex with her but he enjoys about everything else about her. The girl is nude quite a few times in the film and is very pretty. She literally throws herself at the handsome man and says she loves him and wants to marry him. She hooks him up with the French Resistance and then he just seems to disappear. She then goes to the French SS men to tell them that the terrorist forced her to do unspeakable things with him. She wants the SS men to kill the man.
Claude is now informed of Nanette denouncing him. He has the SS go pick her up. They bring her to meet with Claude. When she sees him next she sees that he is the commander of the French SS unit. He totally conned her. And now he takes her down to the village where he tells her that the whole village knows now that Nanette betrayed them. He tries to get her to give the command to kill all the men of the village rounded up because of their contacts with the Resistance. She won't do it, so he gives the command and the men are all cut down with sub-machine guns.
The sadist also told Nanette that she would always suffer from terrible flashbacks of what happened in her village. It appears that Claude has enjoyed every aspect of using and destroying Nanette.
The sadist had such a good time that he came back to the French village after the war just to continue enjoying the suffering of Nanette. Of course, Nanette gets the last word via speaking through her husband's double-barreled shotgun. And another Nazi bites the dust.
There were lots of sadists among the Nazis. And being a sadist probably got these people promoted very quickly.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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