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  • In Argentina, one daughter of patriarch Madariaga is married to a Frenchman while the other is married to a German thus leading to a crisis when Nazi Germany occupies France and some Madariaga family members fight on opposite sides.

  • In Argentina, family man Julio Madariaga (Lee J. Cobb) is the patriarch of his family and considers his farm paradise on Earth. One of his daughters, Dona Luisa Desnoyers (Harriet E. MacGibbon), has married French immigrant Marcelo Desnoyers (Charles Boyer) and they have one son, the playboy Julio (Glenn Ford), and one daughter, the gorgeous student of Sorbonne Chi Chi (Yvette Mimieux). His other daughter, Elena von Hartrott (Kathryn Givney), has married German Karl von Hartrott (Paul Lukas), and they have three sons: Heinrich (Karlheinz Böhm), Gustav (Brian Avery), and Franz (Richard Franchot). In 1938, Heinrich returns from Germany for a family reunion and when he tells that he has joined the S.S., the displeased Julio Madariaga has a heart attack and dies. When France is occupied by the Germans, the family reunites in Paris, and Franz is the Nazi administrator in France. The alienated Julio has a studio where he paints, and has a love affair with Marguerite Laurier (Ingrid Thulin), the wife of newspaper owner Etienne Laurier (Paul Henreid), who is fighting in Belgium. Meanwhile, Chi Chi joins the French resistance and is arrested. Julio uses the influence of his cousin Franz to release her. However, Chi Chi has an argument with Julio for his neutral position. When Chi Chi is tortured to death by the Gestapo, Julio joins the resistance, using his relationship with the Germans to get inside information.

  • Karl von Hartrott (Paul Lukas) from Germany and Marcelo Desnoyers (Charles Boyer) from France emigrated to Argentina and became brothers-in-law. Whatever happens later, they will always preserve a strong family feeling. Karl soon returned to Germany to serve in the Army. Marcelo and his children Julio (Glenn Ford) and Chi Chi (Yvette Mimieux) became Argentinean citizens, but later returned to Paris. Karl became a General with a son (Heinrich (Karlheinz Böhm)) in the S.S. During World War II, he got a high job within the occupation administration in France. Heinrich would come and go. Julio was a playboy. Chi Chi joined the resistance and was eventually tortured to death by the Gestapo. Julio has an affair with a woman whose husband is a P.O.W., and who will, after release, become a district leader within the resistance movement. Julio eventually feels that it is his duty to fight the Nazis. With a firm reputation as a superficial playboy, he can attend the nightclub favored by German officers and gather much important information. Finally, he and another partisan (posing as his chauffeur) accept a highly important suicidal task involving a courtesy call to Heinrich.


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