Comic actor Noël-Noël, who also wrote the screenplay, plays the elderly and apparently innocuous Édouard Martin, an insurance agent with a passion for orchids. The secret he conceals, even from his family, is that he is the head of the regional Resistance cell. While liaising with London and co-ordinating the sabotage of German military depots in the area, he must also deal with a spy in his ranks.
Much of the pleasure of this film is the double game that Martin must constantly play to divert suspicion. When his wife interrupts a meeting with two of his Resistance agents as they are discussing the fate of the German spy, he is forced to resort to coded language. "I have decided," he says, "not to renew his life insurance." There are also moments of genuine tension, as when a group of officers arrive to inspect his orchid house. Are they really interested in the flowers, as they claim, or do they suspect that this is where he hides his weapons and documents?
Later films, such as Louis Malle's "Lacombe Lucien", would help to provide a more balanced picture of life under the Occupation. But this entertaining film stands as a tribute to the quiet heroism of ordinary people like M. Martin.