Jack Garner's Plan B: This Land is Mine

02:49 PM, Jan 29, 2013

As an alternative, critic Jack Garner recommends:

THIS LAND IS MINE. Jean Renoir (the legendary French director of the great Grand Illusion and the even greater Rules of the Game) made this in ‘43, in exile in Hollywood, during the Nazi occupation. That occupation is the subject of this melodrama. Though the setting is unnamed, it’s obviously a village in France. Charles Laughton plays a timid teacher and hen-pecked momma’s boy who grows a backbone when he becomes entangled in underground efforts against the Nazis, and betrayal by an acquaintance. Maureen O’Hara, George Sanders and Walter Slezak co-star as the love interest, the traitor, and the top Nazi, respectively, and the script is by the notable Dudley Nichols (of Stagecoach and Gunga Din, among many others). Laughton is perfectly cast, and contributes a touching performance of transformation. Grand Illusion and Rules of the Game remain the essential Renoir, but this is of interest. It’s a Warner Archive product, at their website or Amazon.

Director: Renoir.

Cast: Laughton, O’Hara, Sanders.

Jack’s rating: 8.

New on DVD This week:
Downton Abbey Season 3, Hotel Transylvania, Seven Psychopaths, Pan Am: Season 1, Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection, The Duellists, The Awakening, Sea Hunt: Season One.

Next Week:
Flight, Peter Pan (Disney’s), Alex Cross, Cabaret, Animaniacs: Vol. 4, Laura, Celeste and Jesse Forever, A Star Is Born (Streisand version), Gunsmoke: Seventh Season, A Late Quartet, The Ballad of Narayama.