Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Great Escape (1963): Mini Review

Saw this yesterday with Mister Muleboy at the AFI-Silver. In case you've never seen it, it's based on the true story of the mass escape of British prisoners from a German POW camp during World War II. A couple of Hollywood's biggest stars, James Garner and Steve McQueen, were shoehorned into the story—and thank God for studio interference. Garner is merely great while McQueen gives the most exciting performance of his career. His love affair with a motorcycle is justly legendary.

5 stars out of 5.

Also starring Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, James Donald, David McCallum, Gordon Jackson, Hannes Messemer, Angus Lennie, Nigel Stock. Produced and directed by John Sturges. Elmer Bernstein wrote the iconic score.

[SPOILERS] I don't know how many times I've seen this movie, but I never fail to watch white-knuckled thinking this time McQueen is going to make it over that fence.

Bonus Trivia: Donald Pleasence, who plays the nerdy, half-blind forger, was in real life an RAF officer who was shot down and spent the war in a POW camp. Also, thanks to the miracle of film editing, one of the German soldiers chasing Steve McQueen on a motorcycle is Steve McQueen.


VKMfanHuey said...

MM - not really related to the post - good film, BTW! - but then again, I guess it WAS a 'Great Escape' for AU tonight from the Tide... WDE!!! Really the craziest ending to an Iron Bowl I've seen... I know UAB had LSU return a short FG attempt back on them earlier this year, but never thought I'd see it twice in the same season...

Mythical Monkey said...

I don't know if you remember the 1985 Iron Bowl, but my brothers and I were there when Van Tiffin kicked the 52 yard field goal on the last play to beat Auburn, 25-23. I had visions of that happening all over again, so when the kick came up short and then Chris Davis ran it back 109 yards to win, it was not only the most exciting moment in Auburn history it was also a catharsis -- or maybe redemption.

I thought the Immaculate Deflection to beat Georgia two weeks ago was the nuttiest thing I'd ever seen on a football field -- turns out it was just a tune up for this.

Grand Old Movies said...

Just about my favorite film, never tire of seeing it. I get your point about white-knuckling whenever McQueen goes for that fence; I feel the same way. Also love the bit with James Coburn in the cafe run by the Resistance. Just really love the film!