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In World War II, five general officers--three American, one British, and one French--are captured in a Tunisian turkish bath by Italians and detained in a luxurious villa in Italy under the command of Colonel Ferrucci. Soon it becomes clear to the Allied powers that the five officers cannot agree on a plan for escaping from their comfortable prison; consequently, public relations head Homer Prentiss recruits Pvt. Harry Frigg, known for his consistent, grandiose escapes from Army guardhouses, to spring the generals. Promoted instantly to major general in order to facilitate his command of the other officers, Frigg is then parachuted into Italy. After his capture by the enemy and imprisonment in the villa, he immediately begins haranguing the five men about their inability to organize an escape plan; when Frigg meets Contessa Francesca di Montefiore, the neutral owner of the villa, however, he becomes less intent on escape and delays the generals with a series of training programs. The escape night finally arrives, but it is postponed as a favor to Ferrucci, who is to be made a general at midnight. German officers arrive and promptly at midnight announce that Italy has surrendered and all prisoners will be transported to a German prison camp. Away from the comforts of both villa and countess, Frigg reverts to his former self and swiftly engineers a successful escape; as a reward, he is recommended for a commission by the five generals and allowed to run an Army radio station located back at the villa.