It's 1943 and a team of saboteurs, some British and some Belgian, are being trained to parachute into Belgium to cause as much damage to the Nazis as they can. After they've landed London learns that one is a traitor. Sound familiar? But this movie is very well done. The heroics are underplayed even though half of the team dies. A special mission they're given is carried out cleverly and realistically.
Among the team members is a young Simone Signoret. In my opinion, over the years she developed into an extraordinarily effective actor. Here, she reflects determination, anguish and a desire not to let herself become emotionally entangled. She discovers the identity of the traitor while they are alone in a farmhouse. He's shaving and she's on the transmitter getting a message from London. The message gives the traitor's name. She picks up her pistol, calls the man's name so he faces her, and without hesitation shoots him. A very tidy, tough scene. She and a young team member played by Gordon Jackson eventually reach a romantic understanding. Because of Signoret's fierceness as an actor it was a little like watching a teen-age cocker spaniel falling in love with a young tigress.
The movie didn't do well when it was released. Some said that it was too close to the war years; nostalgia for courage and victory hadn't set in as it did during the Fifties.
Signoret was, in my opinion, one of the great actors of her time with a career that spanned over 40 years. Check out the span with her performance here -- young, hurt, determined and a great looker, with Room at the Top (1959) -- pushing 40, melancholy, sexy, knowing, with Madame Rosa (1977) -- tender up to a point and looking every day plus more of her age. As she got older, she put on weight and didn't seem to care. I doubt if a surgeon's touch-up scalpel ever tightened her face. And Yves Montand was fascinated enough by her for their marriage to last 34 years until her death.