January 7, 2022
by Carla Hay
Directed by Jesse V. Johnson
Some language in French and German with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in France from 1941 to 1944, the war action film “Hell Hath No Fury” features an almost all-white cast (with one African American) representing the working-class, middle-class, and wealthy Europeans and Americans who are caught up in the brutality of World War II.
Culture Clash: A French woman who is the mistress of a Nazi military leader is held captive by American soldiers, who force her to lead them to buried treasure that was stolen by Nazis.
Culture Audience: “Hell Hath No Fury” will appeal mainly to people who are interested in World War II movies with a lot of suspense and violent battles, even if the movie has some noticeable flaws.
“Hell Hath No Fury” is one of those action movies that makes up for some clunky dialogue and mediocre acting with plenty of suspense and a memorably fierce lead performance by Nina Bergman. She plays a mysterious French woman named Marie Dujardin, who has been imprisoned during World War II. Marie keeps people guessing on her loyalties and allegiances. This political intrigue makes “Hell Hath No Fury” slightly better than the average movie about a woman being held captive for nefarious reasons.
Directed by Jesse V. Johnson and written by Katharine Lee McEwan, “Hell Hath No Fury” opens in 1941 in Aubagne, France. Two lovers are canoodling the back seat of car that’s being driven through a wooded area at around 10 a.m. The two lovebirds in the back seat are Colonel Von Bruckner (played by Daniel Bernhardt) and Marie Dujardin. He asks her, “Marie, are you okay?” She answers, “Tell me again.”
Von Bruckner then tells her: “If we are ever separated, no war, no injury, no challenge will be enough. You see, I know that you are waiting for me. I will find you, and I will love you. Love is stronger than death.”
This amorous moment is interrupted when four French Resistance people (two men and two women), who are armed with guns, ambush the car. The car driver is immediately killed. A woman in the group sneers at Marie, “You’re the German’s whore.”
A shootout ensues that leaves all the French Resistance people dead, because Von Bruckner is an expert marksman. Von Bruckner and Marie escape with their lives. This scene reveals that Von Bruckner is a Nazi, and Marie is considered a French traitor by being his lover.
After this narrow escape from death, the movie fast-forwards three years later, in 1944. Marie is being held captive by American soldiers in a prisoner-of-war camp. They soldiers shave off Marie’s hair into a buzz cut and paint a Nazi swastika on her forehead. She’s then taken by four of the men into a heavily wooded area.
The men don’t want to torture her or force her to tell them any political secrets. They’ve brought her to the woods because they think she knows the location of buried gold that was stolen by Nazis. The Americans want Marie to lead them to this treasure so that the Americans can steal the gold for themselves.
The leader of these rogue soldiers, who could get court-martialed for what they’re doing, is Major Maitland (played by Louis Mandylor), who’s the greediest of the four men. The other men in this group of captors are Chris (played by Luke LaFontaine), a trigger-happy hothead; Jerry (played by Timothy V. Murphy), a ruthless, middle-aged soldier who wants to rape Marie to get information out of her, but Major Maitland won’t let this sexual assault happen; and Vic (played by Josef Cannon), the only one in the group who shows signs of having a guilty conscience about what they’re doing.
There are also two French Resistance soldiers named Clement (played by Dominiquie Vandenberg) and George (played by Charles Farthy) who are key players in this story. And what exactly happened to Von Bruckner? That’s revealed in the movie, which eventually shows how and why Marie got involved with Von Bruckner.
“Hell Hath No Fury” isn’t dull, but the movie does has some gaps in the story that needed filling. Although there are some flashbacks, there could have been more explanation over what happened in the three years in between Marie and Von Bruckner’s escape in the woods and her capture as a prisoner of war. Marie’s family background is quickly mentioned near the end of the movie. Her family history explains many of her motivations.
The movie’s dialogue is at times stilted and corny. For example, when Marie tells Major Maitland that the gold is cursed, he snarls at her: “I’m American, Marie. We don’t believe in spirits. We don’t believe in curses. In gold we trust.”
However, what makes “Hell Hath No Fury” watchable is figuring out the mystery of Marie, and seeing how Bergman skillfully depicts this character who has a lot of secrets. As a villain, Major Maitland is fairly generic. None of the work in this movie is award-worthy, but it’s not a terrible or entirely predictable film.
The fighting and shootouts aren’t particularly innovative, but the pacing serves the movie well. The filmmakers also made good use of the locations to create the sense of isolation in the woods that takes up most of the movie. The intrigue of “Hell Hath No Fury” is seeing if or how Marie can outwit her captors when she’s outnumbered. As the movie’s title suggests, someone who seems to be a vulnerable victim should not be underestimated.
Well Go USA released “Hell Hath No Fury” on November 5, 2021, and on digital/VOD on November 9, 2021. The movie was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 21, 2021.