Escape's "Crossing Paris" takes place during the Nazi occupation of France. It isn't so much a war story as it is a suspense story about two men who have to cross Paris on an icy winter night without getting caught by the German police. Food rationing is in effect and they are carrying four suitcases containing a slaughtered pig that is worth a fortune on the black market. The main character, Martin, makes his living this way but not his new assistant, Grandgil, whom he had only met earlier that day. Out of the compassion felt during hard times, Martin had asked Grandgil to join him on this job to earn 450 francs, but as the night passes he soon regrets his goodwill. Grandgil is difficult, dishonorable, and condescending from the start. Martin is non-confrontational at first, but as the truth about Grandgil comes to light, their trek together takes a bleak turn.
Escape's radio-play was adapted by John Meston from the 1950 short story "Crossing Paris" by the French novelist Marcel Ayme (1902-1967.) Their version stays close to the original work but makes a few changes at the end. Ayme's story is available in English in the anthology Stories in the Modern Manner (1953). In 1956, the short story was the basis for the movie La Traversee de Paris, but the movie version was a comedy with a happy ending. In 1957 Escape's radio-play was performed again for an episode of Suspense.
"Crossing Paris" starred Jay Novello and William Conrad. It also featured Howard McNear, Barney Phillips, Edgar Barrier, Vivi Janiss and Paul Frees. Unfortunately, none of the actors have convincing French accents. This episode aired on August 25, 1950.
(Image from Morguefile.com)