The next war movie I watched, didn’t much feel like one.
It took place in a German POW camp and all of the heroes were prisoners. The one message I think I took from this movie was, German prisons ain’t so bad.
It seemed like most of the guards were either stupid or aloof, and the prisoners were free enough to develop such an elaborate plan as creating 3 tunnels (Tom, Dick, and Harry) out, so that all 250 prisoners could escape. There was very much a sort of, “Now shame on you prisoners for trying to escape from my nice little prison. Do you know how that made me feel? I want you to go sit in the cooler and think about how that made me feel.” You never saw anyone get beaten or tortured. One prisoner makes a break for it by literally trying to climb the fence in front of everybody giving them no choice but to shoot him, but I had a hard time seeing the motivation for that character to act out like that and felt that it was a manipulation scene by the screenwriter to develop a little bit of urgency in the rather long film.
I don’t mean to sound like I didn’t enjoy the picture. There were many classic elements created here. Some even inspired Stephen King to write the novella for the “Shawshank Redemption.”
As out of place as the score for the picture is, it is totally a catchy tune that I enjoy listening to. I feel that it doesn’t really set the proper tone though for a POW camp, where escape could mean death. It sets more of a tone that is “hey, look at all of these silly little allies and their shenanigans.”
“The Great Escape” does offer many things, foremost being the cast: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn for starters. For those of you that are not aware of who these people are, I suggest you check the links and look at their work. Just these four names from the film hold at least a dozen movies worth watching from their resume’s combined. If you have any questions about which ones to watch, I would love to get a comment from you and help you out.
There is a bit of suspense in this picture, as well as some amazing motorcycle stunts, and gun fights.
Looking back I feel that this film was another bit of glorification for the “Greatest Generation,” which is not a bad thing, but it did not feel like a real POW camp like “Stalag 17.” For a real atmosphere of fear, despair, distrust, and survival, I would suggest that movie.
For a great cast, witty writing, a large scale, and some decent action enjoy “The Great Escape.”
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7 thoughts on ““Are all American officers so ill mannered?” “Yeah, about 99 percent.””
I talked to an American former POW once and he said the Germans became very nice as war started to go against them. A German former POW told me the Americans were very kind to him while he was a prisoner. I agree Stalag 17 is a far superior movie.
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That is great information to have. Thank you for sharing that. I think that the Great Escape is a highly entertaining movie, but it’s not a great “War” movie. I think that Stalag 17 reminds us that they were prisoners of war. That’s all. Great cast. High adventure. James Garner and his game with the German guard with Swiss Chocolate…priceless.
Great Escape is a very entertaining movie, something like a von ryans express. Good write up. I really enjoy reading your blog.
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