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The Elusive Corporal

Le caporal épinglé

Directed by Jean Renoir
France, 1962
Drama, Comedy
  • French
  • English
Double Bill: Renoir, Beginnings and Endings


An upper-class corporal from Paris is captured by the Germans when they invade France in 1940. Assisted and accompanied by a diverse bunch of characters, the corporal tries to escape from prison camps, sometimes making it a few yards, sometimes reaching the French border.

Our take

The penultimate feature from Renoir, which he considered to be his saddest film, is a darkly humorous WW2 tale, co-written by Guy Lefrance, who brought his experiences in a German POW camp to the page. A quasi-sequel to Grand Illusion, Jean-Pierre Cassel stars in this beautiful and humanist story.

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Critics reviews

The Elusive Corporal’s greatest addition is love, portrayed not as a destructive force, but a transcending one.
September 15, 2020
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As in all the great films, the plot is less important than the theme, and the theme is less important than the director’s personal vision.
February 21, 1963
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