Following the Occupation of Paris in 1940, Joseph Goebbels established Continental Films, a company designed to give the Germans some control over the French film industry. It was part of a strategy to suppress French nationalism. Entirely bankrolled by the German government, it was headed by Alfred Greven, an Iron Cross winner in WW1, who started work in the film industry in 1920 before joining the Nazi Party in 1931.
Continental’s finances, production and distribution were tightly integrated into the German film industry until the Nazi defeat in 1944. The highly sophisticated Greven sought to hire the best of the French film industry to work for him and among those who accepted was the young Henri-Georges Clouzot.
Of the thirty films made by the company, Clouzot’s 1943 Le Corbeau is regarded as the finest and the most subtle work. The film
gives full vent to the dark misanthropy that would be a hallmark of the director’s later work on such films as The Wages of Fear, Les
“A starkly realist portrayal of a small provincial community being propelled into a maelstrom of fear and suspicion by a spate of
malicious denouncements…the most vivid and corrosive picture of Nazi-controlled France”
- James Travers