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.
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
A story of courage and defiance of the French people following their surrender to the Germans in 1940.
French soldiers who surrendered are duped by the Germans and are instead taken to a prison of war camp where they are subjected to the most terrible conditions.
Gene Kelly, in a non-singing role, is one such soldier. Punished for hitting German soldiers he is locked in solitary confinement.
In his brief appearance as a priest, Cedric Hardwicke shines as a brave, defiant messenger of the Lord. He pays the ultimate price for attempting to conduct a religious service for someone shot trying to escape.
There is also treachery and collaboration on the part of Hume Cronyn, a prisoner who because he could speak German was made an interpreter by the latter and apparently this went to his head. He also pays the ultimate price as in the ironic case of Peter Lorre, a German soldier caught up in an escape attempt and mistakenly killed by his fellow Nazis.
The ending shows the determination and courage of a local village. This film is a tribute to such people.
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