Top positive review
'ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE WW2 MOVIES EVER SCREENED'
27 December 2014
The true and enduring re-enactment of the greatest escape from a P.O.W camp during WW2.....
The Germans open the 'Stalag Luft 111' camp in 1943 putting 'all the bad eggs in the one basket' -so to speak.
The high security camp built to house the most persistent escapee's with little or no realistic chance of escaping,
however from the outset many of the new inmates are already assessing the best way to do so..
The senior Officer among the P.O.W's 'Ramsey' (James Donald) 'Cooler-King' 'Hilts' (Steve McQueen) one of the
early occupants of the 'Cooler' along with 'Ives' (Angus Lennie) after an attempt on the first day, 'Hilts' always with
baseball and gloves to hand.
When 'Big X' 'Roger Bartlett' (Richard Attenborough) arrives, he quickly realizes that many of his old team have
been placed at the camp, he immediately along with his Intelligence Officer 'Macdonald' (Gordon Jackson) begin
to plan a mass escape to cause the Germans maximum disruption..........his intention, to take 250 out of the camp
in one night.
He has to put together his team, 'The Forger' - 'Blythe' (Donald Pleasence) who despite rapidly loosing his sight
will keep at it, preparing the documentation necessary for all prospective escapee's.
'The Scrounger' 'Hendley' (James Garner) who's job it is to acquire equipment needed to assist the escape, 'The
Mole' 'Danny' (Charles Bronson) who along with 'Willie' (John Leyton also known for his early recording success)
and 'Eqipment-Manufacturer and Mole' 'Sedgwick' (James Coburn) are in charge of the tunnelling, 'Danny' had in
other P.O.W Camps already dug 17 tunnels in earlier camps.
Of course they had to disperse the soil dug out of the tunnels, this job fell to 'Ashley-Pitt' (David McCallum) many
talented participants including a Tailor to convert existing clothing for the out-of-camp wear.
'Roger' has to persuade 'Virgil Hilts' to join the team-effort and put aside his constant one-man escape efforts.
The German camp-commander is no fool, regular checks are made, though some attempts have failed and one of
the three tunnels found, the prisoners resolve continues in earnest.
Seventy-Six made the escape, an outstanding achievement, most were re-captured, some killed in the process of
escape, Fifty, were executed by machine-gun fire, the film showing just three actually making a successful escape,
the remainder returned to camp.
This is outstanding re-construction of the real event, well staged, the Blu-ray upgrade for the 1963 film is pretty good
overall.....many will like myself have seen the film when first released, many will have seen the film on TV, maybe
many times, myself, I purchased and watched the film on DVD when issued, however, though owning the Blu-ray
version since becoming available, this is the first time I've viewed it on the format.
Certainly a must-see if you've never previously watched it, or indeed like myself, worth a re-visit.
Audio Commentary by director John Sturges, cast and crew.
The Great Escape - Bringing fact to fiction
The Great Escape - Preparation for Freedom
The Great Escape - The flight to Freedom
The Great Escape - The standing ovation
The Great Escape - The Untold Story
The Great Escape - The Untold Story - Additional Interviews
The Real Virgil Hilts - A Man called Jones
Return To The Great Escape
Original Theatrical Trailer