The time is World War II. A group of disillusioned French soldiers are approached by Nazi troops and promised safe passage to their homeland. The Frenchmen willingly surrender, only to discover that their next destination is a German concentration camp located near a Gallic village. The anticipated escape attempt results in an uprising from the French villagers--hence the film's title, which refers to the emblem of the Free-French underground. Cross of Lorraine compensates for its Hollywood's-eye view of France (no more realistic than the Paris of the Ernst Lubitsch musicals) with some remarkably graphic sequences showing the extent of German brutality. The melting-pot cast includes Frenchman Jean-Pierre Aumont as a patriot, Hungarian Peter Lorre as a hateful Nazi, American Gene Kelly as a cynical victim of German torture, and Canadian Hume Cronyn as the traditionally rodent-like informer.