Against the Wind (film)
|Against the Wind|
|Directed by||Charles Crichton|
|Produced by||Michael Balcon|
|Written by||T.E.B. Clarke
J. Elder Wills
|Music by||Leslie Bridgwater|
|Edited by||Alan Osbiston|
|Distributed by||Ealing Studios|
|Running time||96 minutes|
Against the Wind is a black-and-white British film directed by Charles Crichton and produced by Michael Balcon, released through Ealing Studios in 1948. Against the Wind is a World War II sabotage/resistance drama set in occupied Belgium, starring Robert Beatty, Jack Warner and Simone Signoret (in her first English-language film role).
A disparate group of individuals is recruited by the wartime British Special Operations Executive to train for covert operations behind enemy lines in Belgium. These include a priest (Beatty) and a Belgian émigrée (Signoret), the latter having suffered personal tragedy during the occupation of Belgium. Her motives are initially questioned before she is finally given the green light. On completion of their training the operatives are parachuted into Belgium, briefed to destroy a Nazi records office in Brussels and to spring a prominent S.O.E. agent from custody. As the group arrive in Belgium, the S.O.E. discover that one of their number is a double-agent; however it is too late to raise the alert.
With the first part of their mission completed to plan, the operatives are hiding out with the Belgian resistance when the S.O.E. succeed in getting a message through, alerting one of them to the presence of a traitor among their ranks. The individual is executed following the discovery of unambiguous evidence of duplicity. The second part of the mission then goes ahead, with the captured S.O.E. operative being successfully released after a road and railway chase sequence.
- Robert Beatty as Father Philip Elliot
- Simone Signoret as Michèle Denis
- Jack Warner as Max Cronk
- Gordon Jackson as Scotty Duncan
- Paul Dupuis as Jacques Picquart
- James Robertson Justice as Ackerman
- André Morell as Abbott
- Eugene Deckers as Marcel van Hecke
- John Slater as Emile Meyer
- Peter Illing as Andrew
- Sybille Binder as Florence Malou
- Andrew Blackett as Frankie
- Arthur Lawrence as Capt. Verreker
Against the Wind performed only modestly at the box-office and received a mixed critical reception, with reviews ranging from the favourable ("This little film about a batch of saboteurs in wartime Belgium is...tense and artistic. It is a pleasing and worthwhile film") to the unimpressed ("Against the Wind...has the aspect of contrived melodrama and a minimum of the truth behind the sabotage of World War II. Despite an experienced cast, Against the Wind is unconvincing fare.") A frequent criticism levelled at the film was that the early scene-setting section was somewhat jerky in style, with sketchy attempts to provide back-stories for the main protagonists leaving many viewers rather confused as to what exactly was going on. The performances of the lead actors tended to be commented on in vague faint-praise terms such as "competent" and "proficient".