Heart of a Nation was filmed in 1940, just after the Nazi occupation of Paris. The film traces the fortunes of the Froment family of Montmartre, from the Franco-Prussian war of 1871 to World War II. Comedy and tragedy are deftly blended throughout; Raimu's visit to the Moulin Rouge is as hilarious as Michele Morgan's loss of an arm during World War I is heartbreaking. When the Nazis became privy to the existence of Heart of a Nation, they ordered its director (Julien Duvivier) arrested and the negative destroyed. Both director and negative managed to escape to the U.S., where a dubbed version of Heart of a Nation was finally made available in 1943. Intriguingly enough, the man responsible for the salvation of the film was a German officer who happened to be a fan of Duvivier's work.