Despite some post-production limitations, Hell Hath No Fury has some strong grit.
Published on December 9, 2021
Rating 3.5 /5
Hell Hath No Fury is a war movie that is equal parts stirring politically as it is gritty in its chaos. There’s a bit of a surprise considering that this film is based on the real-life figure of Marie DuJardin. Marie was a French resistant fighter during World War II who tried to stop the Nazis at any cost, even if her own family became lost during the war effort. Her story sounds as though it would make for great drama but it apparently makes for great action as well.
Marie is played by Nina Bergman and she’s a total bad-ass. She starts off being entwined in a romantic relationship with a top Nazi official. Her relationship is posed as a deep cover, where she plans to sleep with the enemy until the French resistance can strike and steal gold. Unfortunately, the resistance is scattered and broken up by the Nazis. Even worse, Marie is discovered as being a part of the resistance and is thrown into a concentration camp. The good news is that she’s rescued by American soldiers. The bad news is that the American soldiers only agree to help her if she tells them where her resistance has buried the gold.
Considering most of the movie takes place in a graveyard, it’s a location that’s used remarkably well. The gravesite where Marie leads the soldiers towards happens to be the home of two other secret resistance fighters. The tension mounts as the French wait for their moment to slaughter the imposing American forces. Marie stalls by failing to remember the right burial spot and forces the soldiers to dig. She won’t have long, however, as the Nazis are close by and honing in fast.
The film is told in a non-linear but also surreal fashion. We get glimpses of the past where the relationship of Marie and her Nazi lover, slowly reveals how she ended up in such a dangerous situation. We also get to see ghosts of the past, as with one resistance fighter that finds himself speaking to the dead in between hiding from soldiers. The darkness of such a story goes so deep into the void that it’s practically a horror film, posed as a story one might find nestled in an EC comic book.
There’s a lot of action in the picture and most of it is pretty good. The shootouts between the Americans and the French are intense and exciting. Every shot feels like a risky one and there are perfect beats of the action stopping and starting. The climax of the film also pulls out all the stops when it’s the Americans and the French versus a slew of Nazi soldiers. It’s viciously violent and loaded with blood, bullets, and explosions. There’s so much, however, that you can really see the strings of how budgeted this picture was. Take note of how the sound effects feel off as the good ones are used up early and more generic and jarring ones are used as the fight drags on.
Despite some post-production limitations, Hell Hath No Fury has some strong grit. It’s competently shot, features some solid performances, and the action is by far a highlight. The whole experience is so viciously engaging that the textual epilogue of Marie being a real person almost comes as a bit of a shock. How often do you see a film where a battered, bruised, and bloody mess of a woman walks away from a battle zone in a somber release as her post-war bio crowds the screen? This is easily one of those films you’d show in the classroom to get some students more interested in WWII icons, especially since Marie’s story doesn’t feel as well known.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.