The Unvanquished (film)

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Film poster
Directed byAlain Cavalier
Produced byAlain Delon (uncredited)
Georges Beaume
Written byJean Cau
Alain Cavalier
StarringAlain Delon
Lea Massari
Georges Géret
Music byGeorges Delerue
CinematographyClaude Renoir
Delbeau Prod Cipra (Paris)
PCM (Rome)
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • 25 September 1964 (1964-09-25) (France)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
Box office711,339 admissions (France)[2]

The Unvanquished (French: L'Insoumis, literally "Missing without leave") is a 1964 film noir directed by Alain Cavalier and starring Alain Delon opposite Lea Massari.[3][4]

The film's background is the Algerian War and Alain Delon plays Thomas Vlassenroot, a deserter of the French Foreign Legion in Algeria during the 1961 uprising.[5] When a former lieutenant who now works for the OAS proposes to him to kidnap lawyer Dominique Servet (played by Massari), who is in Algiers to defend some Algerian nationalists, Thomas agrees. However Thomas falls in love with Dominique and helps her escape back to France. In doing so he comes into inevitable conflict with his OAS colleagues who subsequently hunt them down.

The film was not a completely happy experience for Alain Delon. He sustained physical injuries while filming and the reception of the picture by the French public was not good. The censors insisted on a number of cuts which compromised the artistic integrity of the film.[4]


Thomas Vlassenroot, a citizen of Luxembourg, after his divorce, decides to enlist in the French Foreign Legion. He is posted to Algeria but during the 1961 uprising he becomes disillusioned and deserts.

While in hiding he receives a visit from his former lieutenant played by Georges Géret, who is also a defector but now works for the OAS, a group opposing Algerian independence. Lieutenant Fraser entices Thomas to join the OAS and also to take part in a plan to kidnap lawyer Dominique Servet by promising him enough money to enable him to return to his home in Luxembourg.

Dominique Servet is in Algiers defending Algerian nationalists in court and this has made her a target.[4] Thomas soon finds himself conflicted as he falls in love with his prisoner and helps her escape back to France. While Dominique finally escapes and goes back to France alone, Thomas gets injured during a fight with another OAS member and makes a difficult trip back home.

While in France he takes the train back to his hometown but during a stop in Lyon he disembarks because he needs to see Dominique again. He finds her at her home and she nurses him when she discovers how badly injured he is but his enemies are not far behind and finally track him down and they threaten both of them with death.

In the ensuing confrontation he escapes and Dominique drives him in her Citroën DS. On the way back to his home they go through roadblocks, get shot at and finally with the help of Dominique's understanding husband he finally crosses the road to Luxembourg and reaches his farm.

He enters his home and finds his little girl sitting at the table. He finally collapses on the floor from his unattended wounds and dies while passing his hand over his face as if to close his eyes. Dominique still waiting outside the fence cries out his name. The film closes on a silent black screen with Thomas Vlassenroot's name and dates of birth and death.[6]

Principal cast[edit]

Actor Character
Alain Delon Thomas Vlassenroot
Lea Massari Dominique Servet
Georges Géret le lieutenant Fraser
Robert Castel Amerio
Viviane Attia Maria

Alternative titles[edit]

Title Country
Hölle von Algier, Die West Germany
Flykten Sweden
A Szökevény Hungary
Eho dikaioma na skotoso? Greece
Have I the Right to Kill? United States
Kostajat Finland
La Muerte no deserta Spain
The Unvanquished Great Britain

Release dates[edit]

Country Release date
France 25 September 1964
Finland 30 April 1965
United States 1965
West Germany 19 March 1965
Sweden 5 July 1965


The film was made for Alain Delon's own company. It was distributed by MGM, for whom Delon had also made Any Number Can Win and Joy House.[7] He had a five-picture deal with the studio and would go on to make Once a Thief and The Yellow Rolls Royce for them.[8] A film still featuring Delon was used by English rock band The Smiths for the cover of their album The Queen Is Dead.



  1. ^ cinema.aliceadsl
  2. ^ Box Office information for film at Box Office Story
  3. ^ Neil Coffey. "French Dictionary". Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ New York Times review
  6. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  7. ^ 'Fair Lady' Stars Free for Next Roles: Warner and Romy Schneider Cite Prime Lures for Actor Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 23 Dec 1963: B9.
  8. ^ French Movie Actor Bears Resemblance to Jimmy Dean Tinee, Mae. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 16 Feb 1964: g15.

External links[edit]