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cloud 9th January 2009 02:11 PM

The Great Escape (John Sturges, 1963)
I feel motivated to start a thread about this wonderful film after revisiting it last night. It was the first time I've ever got to see the special features and as far as extras go they're perhaps up there with some of the best I've seen to date. Included is a 50 minute documentary from the people involved in the escape who go over how it was done and what their ordeal was like once they had escaped. Of the 76 who got out only 3 made it to freedom, 23 were sent back to the camp and of course 50 were shot dead on the orders of that evil cretin, Hitler. There's a documentary about the film itself - I've only watched 10 minutes of it as it was 4 am and I needed sleep - a few additional interviews that were fascinating as well as an interview with the real Virgil Hilts (played by Mr. Cool himself, Steve M.C. Queen in the movie). Absolutely breathtaking special features, I'm so glad I double dipped.

Onto the film itself. It remains one of my all time favourites, it's 2 hrs 45 minutes of sheer entertainment, tension, hope, excitement and come the end crushed hope with a bit of a silver lining. I love films when without going into the absurd, people either alone or in groups battle against the odds to do something incredible and in this case it's escaping from the German camp they've been imprisoned in. The escape (which takes up over 2/3 of the film) is brilliantly staged, especially the claustrophobic tunnel scenes. The night when they escape is especially satisfying too. The thing all of us crave is freedom and that's a very big reason as to why this film is so special. I could go on and on about it, from some of the all time great performances to the editing and direction. One thing I'm most impressed with though is how true it stayed to the original story. There was obviously the odd tweak or two such as Steve M.C. Queen's motorbike escape, name changes and the odd small detail but for a Hollywood film especially it's great that they stayed true and as a result the film benefitted from that.

So anyone else a fan of this particular film? I like it so much that I even own the PS2 game ;).

Pete 9th January 2009 02:12 PM

It's a great film with an excellent cast. Pity Hollywood dont make 'em like that anymore.

mark meakin 9th January 2009 04:29 PM


Originally Posted by loops (Post 20055)
It's a great film with an excellent cast. Pity Hollywood dont make 'em like that anymore.

They're too busy trying to remake them all !.Expect a remake with Jason Statham at some point !;)

vincenzo 9th January 2009 04:30 PM

Interestingly two of the main stars (Donald Pleasence and commandant Hannes Messemer) both served time in POW camps during WW2.

mark meakin 9th January 2009 04:37 PM

Donald gave quite a moving performance in this classic.

cloud 9th January 2009 06:24 PM

I agree entirely, Donald Pleasence's performance was very moving. The scene that sticks out most is when they're approaching the alps only to lose power and crash.

Expect a remake with no soul but in its place a CGI-fest, with CGI tunnels and chases, every scene exaggerated or completely fictionalised, with Michael Bay producing and Stephen Sommers in the director's chair.

vincenzo 9th January 2009 10:59 PM

The TV movie 'sequel' with Christopher Reeve and Donald Pleasence (this time as a Nazi doctor) was absolute drivel.

Co-directed by Jud Taylor, who played McQueen's buddy in the original.

The Reaper Man@Cult Labs 10th January 2009 12:49 AM

Classic-seen it that often,I could play a part in it.....better off with ESCAPE TO VICTORY though......;)

cloud 10th January 2009 12:52 AM

You could play the Scotch one! :D I'd play the Steve M.C. Queen role, 'cause I'm super cool :cool:.

The Reaper Man@Cult Labs 10th January 2009 01:00 AM

Nope,you're James Garner-the scrounger.....:rofl:

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