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The Beasts of Marseilles (1957)

Seven Thunders (original title)
Escaping British prisoners of war hide out in German occupied France.


Hugo Fregonese


John Baines, Rupert Croft-Cooke (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen Boyd ... Dave
James Robertson Justice ... Dr. Martout
Tony Wright ... Jim
Anna Gaylor Anna Gaylor ... Lise
Kathleen Harrison ... Mme. Abou
Eugene Deckers ... Emile Blanchard
Rosalie Crutchley ... Therese Blanchard
Katherine Kath Katherine Kath ... Mme. Parfait
James Kenney ... Eric Triebel
Anton Diffring ... Colonel Trautman
Martin Miller ... Heinrich Isadore Schlip
George Coulouris ... Paul Bourdin
Marcello Pagliero Marcello Pagliero ... Salvatore (as Marcel Pagliero)
Carl Duering ... Major Grautner
Edric Connor Edric Connor ... Abou


Escaping British prisoners of war hide out in German occupied France.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance | War


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Release Date:

1 November 1957 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Beasts of Marseilles See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Angel Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.75: 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The character and murderous career of Dr. Martout was based on fact. The real doctor, very much as depicted in the film, was a Dr. Petiot, who was tried and convicted of 26 murders, but suspected of over 100. He was executed by guillotine. See more »

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User Reviews

Not Your Everyday WW2 Drama
27 October 2009 | by LCShackleySee all my reviews

It's 1943, and the Germans are in control of the French port of Marseilles. Although the Nazis seem to be having plenty of fun at the local bordellos, they're upset by the amount of crime in the poor part of town, and suspicious that anti-Nazi plots are hatching there.

They're absolutely right. At the beginning of the film, we meet two British soldiers who escaped from a POW camp, and are hunkering down in a tiny apartment, waiting for a chance to sail to England. But they can't possibly obey orders and stay in that apartment, so they venture out, and through them we gradually meet the rest of the people in the building and the local area. There's the charming girl next door who's also a petty thief (Anna Gaylor, looking a lot like a young Jessica Lange), an ex-pat Cockney lady with a knack for self-preservation (Kathleen Harrison), a fat and vicious Nazi with an eye for the ladies, and a sinister gentleman named Dr. Martout (James Robertson Justice) who claims to be helping refugees flee the country, but may in fact be in a completely different line of work.

The script skillfully weaves all these story lines together, and keeps the tension turned up throughout. Although the opening credits label this "A British FILM" shot at Pinewood, much of it is shot on location, so the city of Marseilles plays a key role. Why is this fine- looking film, with a very competent cast and arresting visuals, so little known? This is an excellent, off-beat addition to the canon of WW2 movies.

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