Tobistiener, Like you, I would have thought that Australia and other members of the Empire, realm, or whatever the proper word is, would be at war with the Vichy government since England was but they were not. I did some research before posting the comment and found out that Canada, due to it's many French citizens, maintained normal diplomatic relations with Vichy until November 1942. Australia maintained relations until the end of the April of 1945. Below is the link to the wikipedia page on Vichy France*, you can see their status with the different countries in the "relations with the allies" section.
In regards to the reason the studio might ignore the Vichy angle, relations with France and the United States were actually very bad at the time. I think that most people know that DeGaulle was a hero to the people of France during WWII but I think that far fewer know that most of his contemporaries despised the man. During the mid sixties after France became a nuclear power, they withdrew from NATO. The organization that was created to protect the countries of western Europe from being occupied by the soviet block. France had been occupied twice in just under 25 years and after the people of the allied countries paid a terrible price to restore a free Europe. There timing is terrible because 1964 and 1965 were the 20th anniversary of the liberation of France and now the war in Viet-Nam, a french colony and the sight of another war the French lost was begining to heat up.
The movie came out in 1964 but there were two incidents that occured in 1966 and 1967, that really speak volumes about France's relationship with the U.S. and Canada during this time. In 1966, shortly after France withdrew from NATO, DeGaulle contacted the United States demanded (not asked) "all American soldiers be removed from French soil". During a meeting between DeGaulle and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Lyndon Johnson ordered the Secretary to ask if "his order demanding that all U.S. soldiers be removed from French soil applied to the 100,000 soldiers (73,000 in WWII and 30,000 in WWI) buried there, that died fighting for France?".
The second event occured in Canada on July 24, 1967. During a speech at Quebec City's city hall DGaulle said that seeing the French Canadian crowd cheer him in the city reminded him of his "triumphant return to Paris after its liberation from Germany" (basically comparing the Canadian government to the Nazi's) and closed the speech to a largely french speaking audience by saying "Vive le Québec libre! Vive le Canada français! Et vive la France!" ("Long live free Quebec! Long live French Canada! And long live France!").
I have included another link.** It recalls the event, Explains Degaulle's reasons for making the statement and gives examples of the affect it had on Canada.
While I don't think that there was a concerted effort to "prop up" France after WWII, I don't think that the practice was discouraged. If you ask people the average U.S. citizen about France's involvement in WWII, I think 90% of Americans you ask (that consider themselves knowledgeable about WWII) about France in WWII will even know about Vichy France. Except for Casablanca, the only mention of Vichy I can think of is in "The Big Red One" and they make it seem like 5 minutes into the landing, the French troops kill the evil officer and run out to greet the allies with open arms.
You can make the same argument about other European nations of the Axis except for Germany. Von Ryan's express portrays the Italian army as an unwilling pawns of Germany with only the POW camps commander being openly against the allies. I can't think of a single film that mentions any of the other countries of Europe fighting with the Axis. Below is a list of countries that fought with the Axis***
I would have thought that Ms Frenault's situation was clear - and actually that of the French Consulate.
Bombs don't say "Ah, that's ok. We'll ignore that building, it's Vichy."
Most bombing was indiscriminate: the Consul would send his daughter away and what better excuse than to put her in charge of the kids?
From the way Ms Frenault knows the kids it would be a surprise if she did not also teach them, but even if not, the bombing issue seals it for me.
On a different note, the Vichy issue - and for that matter since you bring it up, the Italians - is a difficult one. By no means every French man or woman supported the Vichy government, ditto the Italians supporting the Fascists. The Italians did not have the enthusiasm for conquest that Mussolini had. And in some ways we have those individuals to thank: by losing ground in Yugoslavia, Greece and Africa, his Austrian mate Adolf had to bail him out, further stretching his forces and making victory all the more likely. We often talk of D-Day as the Second Front. It wasn't. It was probably better described as the fourth!
Being of European Descent, I think we give each other a pass when it comes to treatment of the enemy. Look at the 442 RCT for example, recruited from Japanese Internment Camps and only allowed to fight in Europe. While at the same time: Italian and German born "Americans" were sent to Europe with little thought.
I have often thought the same thing about the D-Day invasion but people never talk about how the Soviets maintained normal relations with Japan until after the "the bomb" was dropped and then demanded control of northern Japan. No telling how many lives would have been saved if they would have allowed US bombers to attack Japan from bases inside USSR. The few times US Pilots did perform emergency landings in the USSR, the pilots were arrested and their planes confiscted and copied. The copied a captured and copied the B-29 so closely the rudder pedals had Boeing cast on them.
I was watching this show on the History Channel, back when they had historical programing on it, and they discusses Mien Kampf II. Take it with a grain of salt, but in the writings, Hitler developed the plans for "the Holocaust" by studying how the US handled Native Americans, If you read it the similarities are quite shocking.