HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Carve Her Name with Pride The SacrificeBuy this film here.
Year: 1958
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Virginia McKenna, Paul Scofield, Jack Warner, Denise Grey, Alain Saury, Maurice Ronet, Anne Leon, Sydney Tafler, Avice Landone, Nicole Stéphane, Noel Willman, Bill Owen, Billie Whitelaw, William Mervyn, Michael Goodliffe, André Maranne, Harold Lang
Genre: War, Biopic
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Violette Bushell (Virginia McKenna) in 1940 lived in London with her parents (Jack Warner and Denise Grey) who wished to make a contribution to the war effort, so her mother, being French, asked her to invite a French soldier around for tea to lift his spirits. Therefore Violette and her friend Winnie (Billie Whitelaw) sat in Hyde Park and looked around for any prospective candidates, settling upon Etienne Szabo (Alain Saury) who was delighted to receive their attentions and willingly went with them back to the Bushell residence. Over the course of the next few days, he and Violette really clicked and made up their mind to be married as there was no time to dawdle with the conflict raging...

However, Violette's contribution went further than simply cheering up foreign servicemen, as we found out in one of countless war movies made in Britain from the nineteen-forties when the battles were waged up to the seventies by which time the genre was waning, to be intermittently revived but never with the same gusto as those earlier efforts, especially in the fifties when Carve Her Name with Pride was created. It was very much following in the footsteps of a huge hit from eight years before, the Anna Neagle vehicle Odette where she took on the role of a real life spy in Occupied France, and so the services of Virginia McKenna, being a popular star of her day, were secured.

Also, it was made by many of the same team who had enjoyed another huge hit, the Sir Douglas Bader biopic Reach for the Sky, so they evidently sought to repeat the formula here. Obviously with any of these some artistic licence was used, so just as the rather caustic personality of Bader was toned down for the film, the actual ordeal that Violette went through tended to be depicted in the form of more stylised imagery to preserve the delicate sensibilities of the decade's audiences, though we were left in little doubt that she was drawing on great reserves of bravery. What she didn't look like was McKenna, as Violette was a petite brunette and the actress was a willowy blonde, but few were complaining at the time.

After all, watching a homegrown celebrity act out the activities of a real heroine was perfect viewing, and if they could wipe away a tear at the end and emerge from the cinemas contemplating not only Szabo's deeds but those of the generations who had lived through the Second World War, so much the better. That sense of national pride not in what royalty or military top brass had achieved, but the benefits the ordinary Brit had brought to their country was at the heart of a work such as this, and though McKenna had an aristocratic manner about her thanks to the charm school tutelage she and others of her formative years had been put through, we could still think, yes, Virginia's one of us, not least because we could see it was genuinely her performing the training, wielding the weaponry, and slogging through the poor conditions.

Actually, the story was picked up from where they could present Violette as a woman of the people in scenes that were lighthearted and almost fun, but as tragedy was brought to bear we gained an idea of more character building in the young woman (she was just a teenager when she met her husband-to-be, though McKenna did not quite convince as that). As the drama wore on, director Lewis Gilbert adapted it to various techniques, so the training exercises had a comedy bent, when the lead reaches France an espionage adventure was put into play, sort of the type that was spoofed by sitcom 'Allo 'Allo in the eighties and nineties, and by the time of Violette's second, less successful mission the imagery owed quite a degree to the noirish thrillers from out of Hollywood and indeed France. If there was a drawback, it was that British reserve, so it was too late in on until we felt Violette as depicted here was getting her hands dirty, and the noble suffering took over as a method of martyrdom that really should have gone without saying. Still, it was respectful and notable for centring on a woman when the war movies of the fifties were very much male biased. Music by William Alywn.

[Network's DVD from The British Film collection has a restored print, and as extras a commentary from McKenna and editor John Shirley, a trailer and a gallery.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1365 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: