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The Cross of Lorraine (1943)

 -  War | Drama  -  12 November 1943 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 538 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 9 critic

A group of French soldiers during WWII are captured by Nazis troops and sent to a military prison. There they will have to make use of his best resources to keep alive... and sane, while at the same time scheming a way out.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 5 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Paul (as Jean Pierre Aumont)
...
Victor
...
Father Sebastian (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Richard Whorf ...
François
...
Rodriguez
...
Sergeant Berger
...
Duval
William Roy ...
Louis (as Billy Roy)
Tonio Selwart ...
Major Bruhl
Jack Lambert ...
Jacques
Wallace Ford ...
Pierre
...
Marcel
Jack Edwards Jr. ...
René
...
Lieutenant Schmidt
Frederick Giermann ...
Corporal Daxer
Edit

Storyline

With the onset of World War II, Frenchmen from all walks of life enlist in the army. The war is short-lived however as the Nazis quickly defeat them and Marshall Petain signs a peace agreement with the invaders. The troops surrender but rather that being repatriated to their homes as expected, they all find themselves in a military prison. Conditions are difficult with little food and poor medical conditions. The men resist as best they can and for some, like Paul, they are prepared to spend time in solitary confinement and be subjected to beatings if need be. For others, such as Duval, collaboration with their Nazi jailers is the route to an easier life. The men find solace in the company of Father Sebastian, a priest who was also in the army. He counsels them wisely and in the case of Paul, gives him strength to face the daily challenge of simply living. When Paul gets an opportunity however, he helps his fellow prisoners escape. When they liberate a village, they all realize that ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

MGM's Drama of the Fightung French! See more »

Genres:

War | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 November 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Cruz de Lorena  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

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User Reviews

 
Tight and effective.
2 March 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Cross of Lorraine is directed by Tay Garnett {The Postman Always Rings Twice/A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court} & it stars Jean-Pierre Aumont and Gene Kelly and was adapted from Hans Habe's novel A Thousand Shall Fall. The story is about French prisoners of war held by the Germans in World War II.

Yep, sure enough it's a propaganda piece, yep, sure enough it's low on budget, and, yep, the outcome will hold no surprises for anyone aware of propaganda based cinema. But don't let that in any way detract from what a tightly scripted and acted picture this is. Coming as it did in 1943 one could be forgiven for expecting a watered down tale of prisoners under duress; rising up and flipping the bird to those dam dirty Nazis. Yet, and with much thanks, we get a gritty and often brutal movie that's not afraid to call it as it sees it. The war, in case anyone was asleep during history class, was very much a case of the good against the bad and the makers here only reiterate that basic fact. With a couple of scenes memorable and worth the patience that is required to roll along with the predominantly dialogue driven tale.

Backing up Kelly & Aumont are Peter Lorre, Cedric Hardwicke, Hume Cronyn & Wallace Ford. Which alone speaks volumes as to why this is a nifty little treasure yearning to be dug out by other film fans. But this also has a good print which is devoid of fractures and makes for an easy on the eye experience. A film like this now would most likely be laughed out of the studio executive offices, but this is 1943, a troubled time, and this is a fine movie that certainly has enough intelligence and spunk to stop it getting weighed down by flag waving histrionics. 7/10


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