February 21, 2017


Carve Her Name with Pride – 1958 | 119 mins | War, Drama | B&W


Plot Synopsis

Carve Her Name with Pride

After Violette Szabo’s (Virginia McKenna) French husband is killed in North Africa during World War II, she is amazed to find herself seconded to the British secret service, and agrees to undertake resistance work in France. Subjected to rigorous training, she is put through a rite of passage in which she has to learn to fight and think like a man. She is parachuted into enemy territory and proves herself a valuable and resourceful agent. After her mission to Rouen, Vi meets up with her control, Tony (Paul Scofield), in Paris and reports on her difficulties during the mission. Its success is emphasised when Tony tells her that its aim – the destruction of the viaduct – was achieved. But this is not just a professional meeting; Tony makes his love for her clear.

On a second mission, Vi is captured when her ammunition runs out. The German interrogator reminds her: ‘what will become of your child if you die?’, before offering her new clothes and fun, ‘you’re young, you’re attractive and you’re in Paris.’ Violette slaps him. After physical torture, memories of her husband Etienne prove an even greater temptation. The final scenes of the film, in which Vi is tortured, taken to a prison camp and finally shot are punctuated by close-ups of her translucent skin, her cheekbones sharp and her fair hair pushed away to reveal her drawn features. Tanya, dressed in the dress bought for her in Paris, goes to collect the George Cross that the state has bestowed on her dead mother. The repetition of a special poem and the final image of children playing in the street give a hopeful resonance to Violette’s sacrifice.

Production Team

Lewis Gilbert: Director
Bernard Robinson: Art Direction
John Wilcox: Cinematography
Phyllis Dalton: Costume Design
John Shirley: Editing
Bob Lawrance: Makeup Department
Ivy Emmerton: Makeup Department
William Alwyn: Original Music
Daniel M Angel: Producer
Vernon Harris: Script
Lewis Gilbert: Script
Gordon K McCallum: Sound Department
Arthur Ridout: Sound Department
Les Wiggins: Sound Department
CC Stevens: Sound Department
Lionel Banes: Special Effects
Bill Warrington: Special Effects


Virginia McKenna: Violette Szabo
Paul Scofield: Tony Fraser
Jack Warner: Mr Bushell
Denise Grey: Mrs Bushell
Alain Saury: Etienne Szabo
Maurice Ronet: Jacques
Anne Leon: Lillian Rolfe
Sydney Tafler: Potter
Avice Landone: Vera Atkins
Nicole St├ęphane: Denise Bloch
Noel Willman: Interrogator
Bill Owen: NCO Instructor
Billie Whitelaw: Winnie

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