on 24 February 2004
I first saw this movie when I was 12yrs old on T.V. and as I recall I enjoyed it then.The acting is first rate especially the German actor Hardy Kruger who plays Oblt Franz von Werra a Luftwaffe fighter pilot shot down during the Battle of Britian.
It tells von Werra's story from England where he escaped twice to his third successful escape from Canada.He was the only German POW to escape from Allied captivity and return to Germany.The film remains true to the Book of the same name by Kendal Burt & James Leasor.
I like the fact that von Werra's Messerschmitt 109 E-4 in the film looks as it should unlike the later Spanish built version used in the 1969 film the Battle of Britian.A great movie for a dull Sunday.
This is one of the better WWII movies about an escape from a prisoner-of-war camp. The story is taut and suspenseful. The odds against success are high but we wind up rooting for the man anyway. The guy is handsome, competent, resourceful and self-confident to the point of smugness. No, the guy isn't played by Steve McQueen. There is no ball-bouncing in a prison cell. The man is Oberleutnant Franz von Werra, played by the German actor Hardy Kruger. Von Werra's Messerschmitt is shot down over England on September 5, 1940. He is captured, interrogated and sent to a prisoner of war camp for officers. He turned out to be the only German captured on British soil who ever escaped and made it back to Germany.
Von Werra turns out to be a committed German officer, determined to escape, and with enough drive, ingenuity and luck to escape from British camps three times. The first time sees him staggering for five days through mud and freezing rain to try to reach a British port and a neutral ship. When he's finally recaptured he's half dead. The British send him to a much tougher camp in the north. This time he organizes a tunnel dig, figures out how to make fake identity discs and how to convert rag-tag clothing into something passably civilian. On this break von Werra manages to talk himself onto a RAF base posing as a Dutch pilot. He's captured while seated in the cockpit of a Hurricane trying to get it started. He planned to fly back to Germany. Now the British ship him off to a prisoner-of-war camp in Canada. They figure that'll take the starch out of his determination to return to Germany. They didn't figure that von Werra would realize the significance of the United States being a neutral country and how close the train taking him to the camp would be to the Saint Lawrence River border. Sure enough, in the dead cold of a Canadian winter (January, 1941), he escapes from the train, works his way through the snow and freezing drizzle to the mostly frozen river. He finds a boat and finally is picked up on the American side. Our movie ends here, with a big smile on von Werra's frozen face and mumbled "thank yous" to the American border guard who found him.
Through all of this the escapes are carefully shown with a lot of dramatic tension. You can't help but wind up hoping von Werra's persistence will pay off. Knowing he's an enthusiastic German pilot, a fighter ace, who is eager to get back to the battles takes a little of the edge off, but still...
The One That Got Away is filmed in black and white. There are no sweeping, beautiful shots of the countryside. We're talking late fall and winter in Britain and Canada. It's cold and grey. If it's not snowing, it's raining. If it's not raining, it's drizzling. If it's not drizzling it's still so cold you'll want a fire going during the day. The acting is as cool and competent as the movie.
And what about von Werra after he made it to America? The Canadians tried to get him back. The Americans wanted to send him back. While everyone was arguing his status, von Werra slipped across the U. S. border into Mexico, then made his way back to Germany by way of Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Spain. He arrived in Berlin on April 18, 1941. He was assigned to fly on the Eastern front, became an ace again, then was sent with his unit to the Netherlands for rest and refitting. On October 21, 1941, his plane malfunctioned during a training flight and went down in the sea. His body was never recovered. Franz von Werra's luck had finally run out.
on 1 December 2010
I like Prisoner of War films, my favourites being The Great Escape and The Colditz Story. This film is a bit different to those two, its main character is a German, a German named Franz Von Werra. This is his story, he is the only Axis Prisoner of War to have escaped back to Germany. His first two escapes were from camps in England and the last (and successful) one was in Canada.
Hardy Kruger puts in a great performance as the cocky young German,it is exciting throughout and never gets boring. The film is in black and white but that doesn't take anything away from it. It must have been contraversial at the time because Kruger was once a member of the Hitler Youth.
This is the amazing, true story of Franz Von Werra, the only German to escape from a British POW camp and return to fight again in Germany. (Unfortunately, we learn this in the opening credits, so a lot of suspense is spoiled right off.)
As Werra, Hardy Kruger is handsome, charismatic, and a good actor. His experiences make being a POW look like going to scout camp but with better food and less supervision. It seems odd that Britain would make a movie with a German hero and fairly incompetent Brit guards so soon after WWII, but he is quite endearing and I was rooting for him.
It is a thrilling and enjoyable story and inspired me to read about the real Von Werra. Recommended.
on 4 June 2012
Hardy Kruger gives a stunning performance in this British war classic. Based on a true story,as a crashed German pilot on English soil. and his numerous attempts, to get back to Germany.Managing to escape several times when captured.
A film I remember watching as a child one cosy afternoon home from school, that I never forgot, and I'm now pleased to own. An action adventure that will have you on the edge of your seat, and spurring him on. A film of human endurance and courage in the face of adversity. If you like old black and white British war movies, with plenty of action and adventure, and a great story. then this maybe for you. A rare classic and a real treat. LOL .
on 14 November 2015
‘The Other Side of the Hill
‘The One That Got Away (1957) is the story of Oberleutnant Franz von Werra, (Hardy Kruger), the sole German PoW successfully to return to Germany.
Von Werra crashes, is captured and immediately attempts to use his command of English to secure leadership among whatever German PoW’s he comes across. He’s a hero in Germany but his exploits are easily revealed to be based on lies by British Intelligence and himself as not a pleasant character. Is that what turns him into what he claimed to be – unconquerable even in captivity. He makes several attempts to escape – especially one in which he tries to steal a Hurricane & is out-played by good old British red-tape. So he’s shipped off to Canada and there, with the active assistance of comrades, slips out of a train into ‘freedom’ – if he can cross the St. Lawrence into the USA. The struggle through the snow, the ice and the theft of a boat arouse the admiration of the viewer and gets him into a neutral country. Here the film stops with a brief summary of diplomatic attempts to retain him & von Werra’s struggle to return to Germany only within weeks to be killed in the carnage on the Eastern Front which tore the guts out of the whole German military machine.
The film’s in black-and-white (more ‘realistic in several ways), with a good script (often the British chuckling at themselves) and satisfactory acting. Several actors, later to become famous (e.g. Terence Alexander, Andrew Faulds, Glyn Houston and Alec McGowen) are in the cast. I found it a fitting companion to the more usual fare (e.g. ‘|The Great Escape’ & ‘The Colditz Story’). Was it my imagination or my imagination which showed the captors as far more friendly and patient than the German equivalents – or was it post-war propaganda or simply actualité. Make up your own minds when you see it but I’d give it a generous 5 stars. Another notable point is the almost complete absence of violence; didn’t they know there was a way on?
Why my title? Liddell Hart produced in 1948 an excellent account with that title of World War 2 as seen from the German side.
I liked a lot this little known, courageous and atypical 1957 war movie. It will certainly delight all amateurs of good cinema. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.
This film follows quite faithfully the TRUE war time exploits of a real Luftwaffe pilot, Oberleutnant Franz von Werra. In the opening scene of the film his Messerschmitt Bf 109 is shot down in the middle of Battle of Britain and he is himself taken prisoner. As the title says it openly, he will attempt to escape from captivity - many times. This film describes his adventures, fortunes and misfortunes during those efforts.
In most of my reviews of films inspired by real events I put some description of the historical facts, but here I simply cannot do it, because it would give away almost all the plot of the film. I can only say, that this film is really well done, sticking very much to the real story and trying to recreate as closely as possible the very peculiar universe of allied camps for Axis POWs in the first years of war. As most POWs flicks, this is a war film without any real fighting, but there is nevertheless a lot of suspense and drama. Nothing more will be said.
This is mostly a one-man show as German actor Hardy Kruger, who plays von Werra, monopolises most of the screen time. Kruger knew quite well the topic, as he was himself a former POW. Conscripted at age of 16 into Wehrmacht in 1944, he was in March 1945 transferred to 38 SS Division "Nibelungen" and participated in the last fights against US forces advancing into Germany. Taken prisoner by Americans at the end of war he tried to escape three times - the third time he succeeded and went back home. He was then barely 17 years old. It might be this experience that allowed him to portray a cocky, defiant POW with such intensity in this film.
I really, really liked this film as the scenario is strong, dialogs are good and the main "hero", albeit arrogant and serving an abominable regime, ultimately forces some respect by his courage, determination, endurance of hardships and dignity. A well done description of a quite unique human adventure and of an exceptionnal display of a soldier's honour. I will definitely keep my DVD for another viewing. ENJOY!
on 24 August 2015
I have always loved this film ever since my father took me and 5 other small boys to see it in 1957. The quality of the film reproduction is an improvement on the DVD release and Hardy Kruger is perfect as "The One That Got Away". Lastly I had not realised previously that he was a German POW and had escaped on 3 occasions.
on 18 September 2012
This is one of my favourite films from before 1960, Hardy Kruger is a brilliant actor in it and is probably his best film. If you are interested in films about war or escape films then this should become part of your collection!
on 8 June 2015
An excellent film, received the DVD in rapid time and am well pleased with your service,