CANNON MONTH 2: The Blockhouse (1973)

On D-Day, a mixed group of forced labourers being held by German forces take shelter from the bombardment inside a bunker which gets blocked in by a bombing run. They have enough food to last for years and it turns out that they’re trapped there for the rest of their lives, as they wait and wait for help that never comes.

Based on Le Blockhaus by Jean-Paul Clébert, this was directed by Clive Rees, who co-wrote the script with John Gould. That book was based on a true story, as in 1951, two German soldiers claimed to have been trapped for six years in an underground storehouse in Babie Doły, Poland. They died within days of being rescued.

Aufret (Peter Vaughan), their leader in the world above, before they were trapped in this storehouse and inside the darkness, loses his power over the men and isolates himself while the others, like Visconti (Charles Aznavour) and Grabinski (Jeremy Kemp) try to play games and keep their spirits up. By the end, the survivors dwindle — Rouquet (Peter Sellers) and Lund  (Per Oscarsson) are the others — and even their matches and candles have started to run out. All that remains is a life trapped in a small space and no light will find them again.

This is a rough movie — not a bad one, but a bleak entry — and also one that should be discussed more.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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