Thread: War Films
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Old 23rd July 2018, 05:11 PM
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Inspector Abberline Inspector Abberline is offline
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Default The Great Escape (1963)

It became a cliche that practically every year at Christmas time, somebody somewhere would say,"oh no not The Great Escape again", now I'm not calling them liars,f**king idiots yes, but I can never remember ever seeing it at Christmas time, but hey I digress. Watching it again on Blu Ray after quite a while of not seeing for a long time Xmas or not, it was a very nice surprise, seeing this film looking so good and still just as entertaining as I remembered it. And while it's not my all-time favourite war film, that's a toss-up between Billy Wilder's Stalag 17 (1953) and the ever-ludicrous Where Eagles Dare (1968) (you do wonder what possessed them to have helicopters in the film). The Great Escape is the war equivalent of all those star-studded 1970's disaster movies, there are more famous faces than you can care to name. And while everyone concerned does a top-notch job, from British stalwarts like Richard Attenborough and Donald Pleasence to ever-reliable American character actors Charles Bronson and James Coburn, it is, of course, Steve McQueen as Hilts "The Cooler King" who for me steals the film,and while he gets no more screen time than the others, you do feel like it is his movie, if only for the motorbike scenes, which any petrol head or motorbike fan will appreciate. And while McQueen does all his own riding in the film, its famously Stuntman Bud Ekins who does the famous jump. My only real criticism would be that at the time it does feel a little bit episodic in places and you don't get any real feeling of how long it takes them to dig the tunnels, that's probably due to filmmakers having to cram a lot into its running time. Also when Attenborough gets outwitted by the German's and fall's for the oldest trick in the book you do groan in sympathy wishing he hadn't. Anyway, an enjoyable and a good old-fashioned war movie...
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