STUDIOCANAL has announced the release of a brand-new 4K restoration of Jean-Pierre Melville’s WW2 set masterpiece, ARMY OF SHADOWS,that will be available to own on Blu-RayDVD and Digital from June 3. The release follows the film’s inclusion in this year’s ‘Cannes Classic’ strand at the Cannes Film Festival.

Having himself participated in the French Resistance, ARMY OF SHADOWS isboth Melville’smost personal film and, though initially underappreciated in France, is today widely recognized as being his finest.

Based on a novel by Joseph Kessel and featuring a stella cast that includes Lino Ventura (Les MisérablesLift to The Scaffold), Paul Meurisse (Les Diaboliques, The Eleven O’clock Woman), Jean-Pierre Cassel (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Three Musketeers) and Simone Signoret (Room at The Top, Les Diaboliques), ARMY OF SHADOWS is a real-life story channelled through the minimalism of Melville’s gangster films. The result is an unmissable tale of defiance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

 “Betrayal. Loyalty. Collaboration. Resistance”

In 1942, French engineer and Resistant cell leader, Philippe Gerbier (Lino Ventura), is arrested and sent to a Nazi concentration camp. Managing to escape we follow Gerbier and his Resistance allies through operations, camaraderie and espionage, and witness the constant threat of capture, danger and the tough decisions that need to be taken to stay alive.

The new 4K restoration of ARMY OF SHADOWS comes complete with brand-new extras and is the newest addition to the ever-expanding Vintage World Cinema collection from STUDIOCANAL.


Army of Shadows... the hidden side of the story (Blu-Ray only)

Jean Pierre Grumbach aka Cartier, aka Melville - Resistance Fighter and Filmmaker (Blu-Ray only)

Cert: 12 / Runtime: 145mins 

Though remembered now primarily for his intense, spare 1960s gangster films, French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville had a startlingly varied career, encompassing wartime dramas, psychosexual character studies, and a collaboration with Jean Cocteau. Melville famously worked mostly independently, even building his own studio. It was this fierce do-it-yourself attitude, and such startling, uncompromising films as Les Enfants Terribles and Bob le Flambeur, that appealed to the filmmakers of the French New Wave, who adopted Melville as a godfather of sorts (Godard even famously gave him a cameo in Breathless). During the New Wave, however, Melville went his own way, making highly idiosyncratic crime films—classically mounted if daringly existential—that were beholden to no trend, including Le Doulos, Le Deuxième Soufflé, and Le Samouraï. Melville died of a heart attack in 1973 at the age of fifty-five.


Army of Shadows will mostly appeal to lovers of French cinema and whilst not being without its merits, it does include a few nail biting scenes and, however it suffers from a storyline that, at times, makes very little sense. Lino Vetura’s character first appears in a prison camp, for what reason we are never told. He then to turns out later to be one of the leaders of the French resistance. Other characters have also the same murky past with some characters, who are pivotal to the story, appearing from nowhere and disappearing just has fast as they came.

Thanks to a new 4K restoration by Studiocanal Army of Shadows probably looks better now than it did when it was first released in 1969. Colours are terrific with no evidence of any film damage.


Army Of Shadows (1969)

2h 25m

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Cast: Lino Ventura, Simone Signoret

UK Release: Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital 3rd June 2024