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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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
Jean-Pierre Aumont, Gene Kelly, Peter Lorre, Hume Cronyn, and Cedric Hardwicke star in "The Cross of Lorraine," a 1943 propaganda film.
I mean a propaganda film in the best way. Propaganda films made by the U.S. during World War II were often intended to inspire and show the people back home that their sacrifices meant something.
The Cross of Lorraine, referencing Joan of Arc's standard, adopted by Charles de Gaulle during World War II to mean the Free France, tells the story of French soldiers who surrender to Nazis and are lied to, and taken to a prisoner of war camp. There they endure terrible conditions and for some, death.
Hume Cronyn portrays a sniveling collaborator whom the Germans use as an interpreter. Cedric Hardwicke is a priest, whom he portrays with great dignity and quiet courage. Gene Kelly plays a defiant soldier put into solitary confinement. Jean-Pierre Aumont decides to cooperate with the Nazis on the surface only; he has another agenda. Aumont was older than God when he was still working in the '90s, and to see him as a young, gorgeous man, robust with incredible hair, is really something! The bravery of the French people is exhibited at the end of the film, when they make a decision to take action before the Nazis arrive at their town.
A really stirring film.
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