Three prisoners in a pre-World War Two French jail occupy the long hours before their courtroom trials, each after his own fashion: the young German sailor Lodeck teaches chess to the elderly Jew Grünstein, while their simpleminded Greek cellmate daydreams aloud about being Kaiser Wilhelm's personal chef. Showing more patience than aptitude, the novice Grünstein unwittingly stumbles onto a foolproof chess strategy, the secret of which will elude a mystified Lodeck for the rest of his life. It may play like theater, but it's good theater, written and directed with humor and sympathy and graced by a trio of fine performances.
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