The Cross of Lorraine | Chicago Reader

The Cross of Lorraine

Precision crafted at MGM, this 1943 propaganda piece about French soldiers in a German POW camp features a strong ensemble cast, a polished script, and enough brutality to suggest that Louis B. Mayer was in a pretty foul mood at the time. Gene Kelly, in one of his earliest film roles, plays a firebrand who loses his nerve after the Nazis make an example of him, Hume Cronyn is the glad-handing collaborationist who can't understand why the others suddenly hate his guts, Jean-Pierre Aumont is the compassionate attorney who devises an escape plan, and Peter Lorre (who else?) is the sinister Nazi sergeant who blows smoke at Kelly and winds up with a face full of spit. Tay Garnett (The Postman Always Rings Twice) directed; with Cedric Hardwicke, Richard Whorf, and Joseph Calleia. 90 min.

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