The Great Escape 1963

Via:  Nowhere Man  •  3 weeks ago  •  12 comments

The Great Escape 1963
Von Luger: Are all American officers so ill-mannered? Hilts: Yeah, about 99 percent. Von Luger: Then perhaps while you are with us you will have a chance to learn some. Ten days isolation, Hilts. Hilts: CAPTAIN Hilts. Von Luger: Twenty days. Hilts: Right. Oh, uh, you'll still be here when I get out? Von Luger: [visibly annoyed] Cooler!

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The Nazis, exasperated at the number of escapes from their prison camps by a relatively small number of Allied prisoners, relocates them to a high-security "escape-proof" camp to sit out the remainder of the war. Undaunted, the prisoners plan one of the most ambitious escape attempts of World War II. Based on a true story, "The Great Escape" deals with the largest Allied escape attempt from a German POW camp during the Second World War. The first part of the film focuses on the escape efforts within the camp and the process of secretly digging an escape tunnel. The second half of the film deals with the massive effort by the German Gestapo to track down the over 70 escaped prisoners who are at this point throughout the Third Reich attempting to make their way to England and various neutral countries.

Now this is a dramatic recreation, at least the first half, the second half is more action film drama than truth although they do represent the three prisoners that actually made it. Two to Sweden and one to Spain. the Germans shot 50 of the 76 prisoners that managed to get out. This was on direct order of Adolph Hitler, but only after several officers of the high command convinced him that shooting all of them was the wrong thing to do.

An all-star cast give great performances.....

Steve McQueen ... Hilts 'The Cooler King'
James Garner ... Hendley 'The Scrounger'
Richard Attenborough ... Bartlett 'Big X'
James Donald ... Ramsey 'The SBO'
Charles Bronson ... Danny 'Tunnel King'
Donald Pleasence ... Blythe 'The Forger'
James Coburn ... Sedgwick 'Manufacturer'
Hannes Messemer ... Von Luger 'The Kommandant'
David McCallum ... Ashley-Pitt 'Dispersal'
Gordon Jackson ... MacDonald 'Intelligence'
John Leyton ... Willie 'Tunnel King'
Angus Lennie ... Ives 'The Mole'
Nigel Stock ... Cavendish 'The Surveyor'
Robert Graf ... Werner 'The Ferret'
Jud Taylor ... Goff

These were all composite characters not using their real names, basically an amalgam of many prisoners and the actions and deeds they done. It ws the only way to put this on the screen in a storyline that could be followed. The movie does differ from the actual story in a great many ways. The fact that the american prisoners did not get to participate in the escape is only one. (they were moved to a new portion of the camp specifically built for them before the escape was to take place although many of them actually participated in the tunnel digging from the start) and of course the action scenes and storylines after the escape were totally fictitious....

Overall a good movie one I would classify as a classic.

I have also posted the PBS Nova 2004 Documentary "The Great Escape" where battlefield detectives and archeologists go back to Stalag-Luft 3 in Poland and dig for the evidence of what actually transpired, the real story of the "Great Escape" which is great watching also....

In it we find that the movie naming of the tunnels is wrong, they were named Tom, Dick and Harry in the movie with "Tom" being discovered by the Germans and Harry being opened up and finished. in the real version yes Tom was discovered but it wasn't under the stove in the barracks that was "Dick" "Tom" was in a corner of the hut closest to the forest.  "Dick" in the movie (named incorrectly) was under the washroom floor thru the drain sump and was used for long term storage in real life. (and the panel hiding it was in the side of the sump not in the bottom) "Harry" in the movie was the tunnel under the stove and was the actual escape tunnel in real life. The real tunnel "Harry" in the washroom sump was never discovered by the Germans. This is what the Archeologists were going back to see if it still existed.

The accounts of the participants is riveting.

I give it a five star rating on entertainment value.

Enjoy

NWM

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Nowhere Man
1  seeder  Nowhere Man    3 weeks ago

Enjoy this tidbit of fantasy tinged with actual history...

NWM

 
 
Kathleen
1.1  Kathleen  replied to  Nowhere Man @1    2 weeks ago

Great movie, I remember when they stuck their head out of the ground, I was so afraid that they would be shot.

 
 
Trout Giggles
2  Trout Giggles    2 weeks ago

One of my all time favorite movies

 
 
Paula Bartholomew
3  Paula Bartholomew    2 weeks ago

Here is something I read about years ago regarding the scene where the Nazis on motorcycles were chasing McQueen, also on a motorcycle.  It seems that the chasers and the chased were filmed separately and later edited to show both together.  McQueen, who a total Petrol Head, paid one of the extras to lend him his uniform and motorcycle.  Essentially, McQueen ended up chasing himself.  Also, that was not movie make up after he hit the barb wire fence.  He really did hit it.

 
 
Nowhere Man
3.1  seeder  Nowhere Man  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @3    2 weeks ago

McQueen did all his own stunts back in those days.... and yeah taking that motorcycle over the first barrier was something that most doubted he could do. The second barrier was a no go though even McQueen said it wasn't possible without a ramp.... so the decision ws to dump it into the barbed wire barrier and they hired a stunt double to do the actual dumping but McQueen was having no part of it. and he did it exactly as he was dressed, yes the blood was real, and they needed a team with heavy duty wire cutters to get him out of it... (it was real barbed wire)

He was definitely a very gutsy guy.....

 
 
Paula Bartholomew
3.1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Nowhere Man @3.1    2 weeks ago

The studio heads ordered a shit load of antacids due to some of his antics.jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

 
 
JohnRussell
4  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

I've seen The Great Escape probably 15 times.  Great movie about spirit and determination and teamwork. 

 
 
Paula Bartholomew
4.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  JohnRussell @4    2 weeks ago

It was one of my husband's favorite films. 

 
 
MUVA
5  MUVA    2 weeks ago

I'm going to watch a bridge to far tonight I may watch this tomorrow.

 
 
MUVA
6  MUVA    2 weeks ago

Von Ryan's express is another good movie but second best to great escape.

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
7  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

It's been many years since I watched that movie. The two scenes that I still recall clearly are McQueen sitting in isolation bouncing a ball while being guarded by a tall seemingly sympathetic guard, and of course McQueen on the motorcycle escaping.

The only prison camp I ever saw was a camp for German officers that was built in Gravenhurst in the Muskoka Lakes area of Ontario.  I saw it because it was converted into a summer resort where my parents liked to go and took me along, starting with only a few years after the war. There was still a guard tower standing and some barbed wire fencing.  Nobody was able to dig a tunnel there because it stood on solid granite rock, however, apparently the prisoners were so well treated there they preferred to stay there, many remaining in the area even after the war ended. The place will always have a special place in my memory, since I lost my virginity there in the back seat of my father's Hudson Hornet. Her name was "Kitty" and she gave me her high school ring, saved as a great memory by me until I gave it to my wife's daughter about 10 years ago. I gave it to her as something special because it was the high school that Dr. Norman Bethune attended, the Canadian doctor revered in China and virtually every Chinese student learns about him. 

 
 
Trout Giggles
7.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @7    2 weeks ago

I just watched this movie last night

 
 
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