The Cross of Lorraine (1943)

Approved   |    |  War, Drama


The Cross of Lorraine (1943) Poster

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.


6.6/10
677

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Awards

2 wins.

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2 March 2010 | hitchcockthelegend
7
| Tight and effective.
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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