1946 Cannes Film Festival       Grand Prize

Le Palme d'Or

Le Palme d'Or

"Talk about suspense:  This has it!"     - Alfred Hitchcock

This award-winning drama is among the most important contributions to Swiss film history.  THE LAST CHANCE carries on where Jean Renoir's LA GRANDE ILLUSION (1939) leaves off.  Sgt. Jim Braddock (Ray Reagan) and Lt. John Halliday (John Hoy) are prisoners of war en route to a prison camp when they escape in an attempt to reach the Swiss border. It is 1943, and Mussolini has just been overthrown. While traveling, the men arrive in an Italian village, where a priest puts them in contact with refugees also seeking safe passage to Switzerland. Joined by Maj. Telford (E.G. Morrison), the Allies, along with the fugitives, must travel to the border in time. The movie is shot in neo-realist style from an objective distance, making do with virtually no artificial light and a minimum of studio shots, and director Leopold Lindtberg works with practically unknown or amateur actors.  The three escaped prisoners of war (two British officers and an American soldier) in THE LAST CHANCE who lead the caravan of refugees had been interned in POW camps.


“[The] flagship Swiss movies produced by Praesens were made primarily by foreigners, immigrants and émigrés. In this respect Praesens was nothing special by the standards of the global film industry. On the contrary: while European cinema and Hollywood liked to think of themselves as national in terms of content, in terms of production they were very transnational indeed. Praesens founder Lazar Wechsler was a Jew of Polish origin who came to Switzerland from Austria in 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War I. He studied engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, was granted Swiss citizenship in 1923, and established Praesens-Film AG in 1924. In its early days, the company concentrated on promotional and industrial films, documentaries and reportage. Commissioned works remained the financial mainstay of the company even after it branched out into producing full length documentary and feature films in the early 1930s in an attempt to get a foothold in the international market.  Wechsler had been able to build a stable team of highly qualified staff, which turned out to be crucial to the success of the company. Not just Praesens, but Swiss cinema as a whole, benefited from the services of émigrés and repatriates from Germany, Austria and France who from 1933 sought refuge in Switzerland from National Socialist repression. The Praesens staff included director Leopold Lindtberg, scriptwriter Richard Schweizer, cameraman Emil Berna, composer Robert Blum and film editor Hermann Haller, and an ensemble of actors that counted Heinrich Gretler, Zarli Carigiet, and Therese Giehse among its members."

                                                                                        -       Yvonne Zimmermann

Ann Sheridan & Dennis O’Keefe in  WOMAN ON THE RUN


Format: DVD-PAL / Region 0 (No Regional Code)


Director: Leopold Lindtberg
Featuring: Ewart G. Morrison, John Hoy, Ray Reagan, Luisa Rossi, Romano Calo, Therese Giehse, Robert Schwarz

  • 106 minutes
  • 35mm
  • B&W
  • Sound

 Bonus Material

  • Behind the scenes photo gallery
  • Stills from the movie
  • Radio Interview with producer Lazar Wechsler
  • Movie posters
  • Film review in The New York Times

Language: Original Version (English, Italian, German, etc.) with optional English, German & French Subtitles

Published By : Prasesens-Film-AG

Institutional Price: $250 (plus shipping)

To order call: 212.280.8654 or click here for information on ordering by fax, e-mail or post.

                    GME also distributes the DVD edition of SWISS TOUR by Leopold Lindtberg.