A lawyer, a priest, a farmer, a surgeon, a wine vendor: these civilians-turned-soldiers are among the combatants captured and held in a POW camp after Nazi troops overrun France. Also among the captives is fiery Victor Labiche, a former cab driver chained to a wall in solitary confinement because of his defiance of prison authorities.
Soon after Thousands Cheer, Gene Kelly set aside his musical prowess to showcase his dramatic talents in this wartime morale booster. He plays Victor, whose will to fight is crushed by the torment of solitary confinement. But his passions rekindle when, after being smuggled out of camp as part of a POW escape, he witnesses courage of fellow escapees and resistance partisans in combat against Nazi troops. Jean-Pierre Aumont plays the escapee whose act of bravery inspires the firefight. Aumont joined the Free French Forces after completed of the film and became a decorated war hero.
The time is World War II. A group of disillusioned French soldiers are approached by Nazi troops and promised safe passage to their homeland. The Frenchmen willingly surrender, only to discover that their next destination is a German concentration camp located near a Gallic village. The anticipated escape attempt results in an uprising from the French villagers--hence the film's title, which refers to the emblem of the Free-French underground. CROSS OF LORRAINE compensates for its Hollywood's-eye view of France (no more realistic than the Paris of the Ernst Lubitsch musicals) with some remarkably graphic sequences showing the extent of German brutality. The melting-pot cast includes Frenchman Jean-Pierre Aumont as a patriot, Hungarian Peter Lorre as a hateful Nazi, American Gene Kelly as a cynical victim of German torture, and Canadian Hume Cronyn as the traditionally rodent-like informer.
Prison / Prisoners |
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