Odette (1950)

“In her own words, Odette was a very ordinary woman.”

During World War II, French-born Odette Sansom (Anna Neagle) volunteers for the British resistance movement in France, and meets fellow spy Peter Churchill (Trevor Howard).


Made just five years after her release from Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, this biopic of famed British spy Odette Sansom suffers from an overly pedantic and adulatory approach to its subject matter. While Sansom is certainly deserving of the highest praise for her sacrifice (which included enduring heinous torture by the Gestapo), her story as told here lacks punch; the first half is especially slow and confusing. Perhaps most disturbing, however, is Neagle’s faux French accent, which is less than convincing — indeed, the issue of language in general is handled clumsily in the film, with an occasional (distracting) “A bien tot” or “Ja voll, Herr Kommandant” thrown into the middle of the primarily English dialogue. Performances by the supporting cast are perfunctory at best; notable exceptions are Trevor Howard and Peter Ustinov as Sansom’s compatriots.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Trevor Howard as Peter Churchill
  • Peter Ustinov as Arno
  • The powerful (mercifully oblique) torture scenes

Must See?
No. This film will primarily be of interest to WWII history buffs.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.