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
This film received its USA television premiere in Los Angeles Thursday 1 November 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11); its initial airing in New York City took place Sunday 17 March 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2), followed by Philadelphia Saturday 15 June 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6) and by San Francisco 3 February 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »
I'm agreeing with the viewer who said that The Cross Of Lorraine was well made propaganda for its day. This film was a product of one of the big colossal studios in Hollywoood, MGM. But it wasn't accurate even at the time and people knew it even back then during World War II.
A cross section of Frenchmen join to fight the Germans for the second time in the 20th century. But instead of protracted trench warfare like in 1914, the Germans overrun France as they did with the rest of Europe with their infamous tank Blitzkreig. This same group of Frenchmen are now prisoners taken to Germany.
All different types become prisoners of the Nazis, the cautious and practical Jean-Pierre Aumont the only authentic Frenchman in the crowd, belligerent Gene Kelly between musicals, willing collaborationist Hume Cronyn and a priest Cedric Hardwicke forbidden to practice his religion. Among those guarding them is Peter Lorre, a German sergeant with a nice sadistic bent.
The ending was ludicrous then. Unlike what you see most of the French neither collaborated or actively resisted, they just sat and waited and prayed for liberation. Very much unlike China or Russia in that conflict, no scorched earth for France in any way.
You watch The Cross Of Lorraine it may be your cross to bear.
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