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Friday, 3 August 2012

Cross of Lorraine - Star of the month... Gene Kelly

'The Cross of Lorraine' is a 1943 war propoganda film directed by Tay Garnett and starring Jean-Pierre Aumont, Gene Kelly, Sir. Cedric Hardwicke, Richard Whorf, Joseph Calleia, Peter Lorre and Hume Cronyn.

Partly based on the novel 'A Thousand Shall Fall' by Hans Habe, the film tells the story of French war prisoners who are sent to a brutal German prison camp, and their attempts to escape and join the French Resistance. 

War propaganda films of the 1940s

'The Cross of Lorraine' is one of many war propaganda films made in Hollywood during the early 1940s.  The purpose of the propaganda films were to explain why US involvement in a European war was important. This purpose of this particular film was to demonstrate to US film audiences the evil of the Nazi's, and the desperate plight for the French during the Nazi occupation of France.

The Cross of Lorraine

The Cross of Lorraine
The Cross of Lorraine is a two-barred cross, comprised of a long vertical line, crossed with two small horizontal bars. 
In France, the cross became the symbol for the French Resistance and the Free French Forces of World War II. It is representative of the liberation of France from Nazi Germany, led by Charles de Gaulle in 1942.

Closing remarks

'The Cross Of Lorraine' is one of the better war propaganda films of the 1940s. Even watching the film in 2012, the viewer gets a sense of the evil occupying France during the 1940s. Peter Lorre is perfectly cast as the evil Sgt. Berger. Jean-Pierre Aumont and Gene Kelly deliver fine dramatic performances as the two lead French prisoners Paul and Victor.

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