Film: 2869

Feature Comedy | 1970 | Mute | Colour

Synopsis:

A amateur made comedy based on the drama of Colditz Prison during World War Two with cross-dressing and nuns farce included ! . Lots of Nazi humour !

A group of Prisoners-of-war, probably British, escape from Hotlitz, probably a Nazi German POW camp in France during World War Two dressed as nuns.

A group of soldiers and their commander, some giving the Nazi salute .They are in dark grey uniforms, wear helmets and carry rifles.

Close-up of bare calves and feet in rolled up grey trousers, splashing through water. The train of men run along a bank and into the nearly dry stream. They file hurriedly through water, then crouch low as they enter a culvert.

Soldiers patrol the bank, looking for the escapees. Close-up of a soldier looking murderous, holding a rifle; on his helmet are the French flag and the eagle of Hitler's Third Reich. The soldiers move on.

The escapees emerge carefully from the shadow of the culvert and continue down the river hurriedly. Pairs of hands unfold a rough paper map. Fingers trace a network of lines from HOTLITZ to NORMANDY, circled and probably their final destination.

A lady in a headscarf carrying a basket by the side of a deserted road; she watches the group of escapees go past her and take a turn. Two road signs: 'Onglevert' and 'Marquise' to the left towards the D191, and 'Andreselles' and 'Boulogne' towards the N40 to the right, which the escapees have taken. The lady sees a band of soldiers running in hot pursuit down the road and excitedly points them in the right direction, waving the baguette. The last soldier snatches the baguette as he passes.

A leafy street outside a convent: the escapees hurry down it and into the compound where a nun in a habit greets them. The soldiers dash up a hill. The escapees emerge from the convent, now in black and white habits. They stop abruptly as the soldiers reach the gate. The soldiers stand respectfully as the commander salutes at the sight of the 'nuns'. One of the 'nuns' sporting a moustache nods graciously. Another crosses himself. The group trot off quickly.

The 'nuns' stop to rest behind the brick pillar of a ruined/disused building with a turret. One of them lights a cigarette and inhales deeply, with relief. More soldiers, discussing the contents of a piece of paper the commander holds.

A statue of a soldier in First World War uniform resting on his rifle. A plaque below reads: 'La commune de WISSANT …. ' It is a memorial. The 'nuns' troop down a tree-lined boulevard, past a government? building, outside which stand guards wearing Nazi armbands. Three elderly ladies with head-scarves turn and stare at the 'nuns' as they pass. The 'nuns' walk past a park?, two schoolboys, and a soldier and his lady friend in a beret, probably French, flirting in a corner. The soldier takes his lady by the arm and walks round the corner, past the same government building. The commander of the soldiers on the front walks up the stairs of the building, instructs the guards, one of whom gives him the Nazi salute. He seems to be dispersing the guards/soldiers to search for the escapees. The soldiers rush through a narrow residential street.

The nuns move on through other streets. Various shots of the soldiers searching for the escapees. Storming down streets, hammering on doors, etc. Close-up of two frustrated soldiers scratching their helmets.

The 'nuns' file calmly down a pathway, right in front of a group of soldiers who don't realise who they are. Close-up of one 'nun's' legs sticking out from under his habit as he walks off: a pair of trouser legs suddenly slips loose and falls round his ankles. A soldier spies this, starts, fires his rifle in the air. The 'nuns' run for it as soldiers give chase.

A bird (pigeon?) shot by the rifle plummets through the air. It lands at the feet of a soldier. The soldier pauses, scratches his helmet in bemusement. The 'nuns' flee through the small deserted streets, soldiers on their heels. The 'nuns' flood into a backyard and shut the gate, pressing themselves against a wall. The soldiers pass the gate, not looking sideways. The 'nuns' hurry off when all is clear.

The soldiers hurtle towards a Nazi jeep: the commander impatiently kicks the backside of the soldier leaning over the engine, and tells him to get in and drive off; all the soldiers pile into the jeep, their rifles out, and the jeep rumbles off.

View from the jeep of soldiers by the roadside who stand at attention and salute the Nazi way. The jeep trundles into a compound with guards and a giant watch-tower/artillery store from which Nazi and French flags fly on flagpoles. Soldiers salute promptly. A soldier relaxes on a foldout deck chair, his rifle resting between his legs, eating an apple. The commander ascends the stairs to the top; the soldier with the apple sees him and rises hurriedly.

The 'nuns' scurry behind a bush and poke their heads out cautiously; seeing something/nothing, they leave. The soldier with the apple fumbles with the deck chair as he tries closing it, and scrambles down the stairs. The commander looks out from the top of the structure through a pair of binoculars. The view through the roving lenses: five nuns, all holding hands in a single chain, scurry into view across the grass. Overhead shot of the soldiers below, hearing their commander, being jolted into action. The commander shouts instructions from the top of the tower.

A soldier cranks a wheel as gears are seen moving in the background. The front/mouth of an artillery gun as it rises slowly. The commander gestures frantically from inside the building, urging it further upwards. The 'nuns' poke out from notches in the structure, look around and scramble out. Two 'nuns' sneak up on a guard dreaming against a wall: one takes his helmet off while the other clubs him on the head, making him crumple to the ground; the 'nuns' punch the air and take his pistol in a brief celebration, and hurry off.

Soldiers appear on the edge of the roof, lining up with their rifles to take a shot. The 'nuns' emerge from below, perhaps a little too complacent. The soldiers spot them. The 'nuns' link hands again but then tear away in different directions, breaking the chain. Soldiers clamber up rung ladders and position themselves on top, ready to fire at the trapped huddle of 'nuns'.

Some 'nuns', in desperation, fall on their knees and pray, then with one accord they rise and - to the confoundment of the soldiers - start hopping around madly. Close-up of trouser legs falling over all the ankles beneath the habits. The soldiers have difficultly aiming. One of the 'nuns' retrieves the pistol from his trouser pocket and points it at the soldiers, while the other 'nuns' form a line behind him, like a human centipede. Soldiers on the roof, in the bunkers, keep shooting in vain. The 'nun'-human-centipede swings around on the grass, pivoting round the one with the gun, who shoots repeatedly with his pistol. One Nazi soldier appears to have been shot; he grimaces, clutches his chest. He falls stiffly over the side of the roof as the shooting continues. The soldier hits the ground on his back, lies still for a moment, then gets up unscathed, dusts off his uniform, takes his hat and saunters off.

The commander looks through his binoculars in horror. The view through the binoculars: cliffs, the sea (English channel), boats, amphibious vehicles zooming toward shore. An amphibious tank rolls onto the beach. The commander, aghast, turns his binoculars around, checks the lenses, turns and looks in another direction. View through the lenses: soldiers pouring out of these vehicles onto the beach. Nazi soldiers aiming from the bunkers. The view through their rifle/gun lenses: soldiers overrunning the beaches. Red and orange blasts everywhere on the beach of mortar(?).

The 'nuns' walk in a huddled group through the smoke, seemingly unperturbed. More blasts. More amphibious vehicles appear; more soldiers flood the beach. Jeeps and the other vehicles run onto the sand. The 'nuns' scramble up the sand and look out. They are thrilled to see their compatriots and cheer and wave their arms in welcome. The soldiers bundle the 'nuns' to safety in the vehicles. A 'nun' smokes a cigarette. Hugs all round. The vehicles roll off into the sea.

Soldiers in tattered uniform, their hands raised in surrender, stagger out from behind the wall of flames on the beach: it is unclear whether they are Nazi or from the other side (British?). Orange, yellow and red flames consume the screen. They are seen licking at the lower right hand corner of a late-19th century? building that might be Hotlitz; the building turns out to be a photograph which melts and disintegrates under the flames.

Credits.

END.


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