Apologies to the makers of Saving Private Ryan, Das Boot, Cross of Iron and countless other great war films but this one is for the Brits only. Stiff upper lips, gritty realism and tally ho’s all round.
It is getting close to Christmas so how about a look forward to the inevitable showing of The Great Escape.
A film about an escape by Allied prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II. The film stars Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough. The film is based on the book of the same name by Paul Brickhill, a nonfiction account of the true story of a mass escape from Stalag Luft III in Sagan, which was then part of Germany. The characters in the film are composites of real men.
As good as the film is, the real story is a hundred times better.
Go an buy the DVD, less than a fiver, bloody bargain
Donald Pleasence had actually been a Royal Air Force pilot in World War II, who was shot down, became a prisoner of war and was tortured by the Germans. When he kindly offered advice to the film’s director John Sturges, he was politely asked to keep his “opinions” to himself. Later, when another star from the film informed John Sturges that Pleasence had actually been a RAF Officer in a World War II German POW Stalag camp, Sturges requested his technical advice and input on historical accuracy from that point forward.
Charles Bronson, who portrays the chief tunneler, brought his own expertise and experiences to the set: he had been a coal miner before turning to acting and gave director John Sturges advice on how to move the earth. As a result of his work in the coal mines, Bronson suffered from claustrophobia just as his character had.
Wally Floody, the real-life “Tunnel King” (he was transferred to another camp just before the escape), served as a consultant to the filmmakers, almost full-time, for more than a year.
Herr Kuhn: We have reason to believe this prisoner is the mastermind behind numerous criminal escape attempts.
Von Luger: [sarcastically] Squadron Leader Bartlett has been three months in your care! And the Gestapo has only “reason to believe”!
Sedgwick: Danny, do you speak Russian?
Danny: A little, but only one sentence.
Sedgwick: Well, let me have it, mate.
Danny: Ya vas lyublyu.
Sedgwick: Ya ya vas…
Sedgwick: Lyubliu? Ya vas lyubliu. Ya vas lyublyu. What’s it mean?
Danny: I love you.
Sedgwick: Love you. What bloody good is that?
Danny: I don’t know, I wasn’t going to use it myself.
MacDonald: Oh my God, they found Tom.
The Lego version is equally as good
And have a view of the real story