The Great Escape
It's no wonder the Germans lost World War II, at least if this film's presentation of them is accurate. The stupid Nazis, thinking they would save resources, stuck all of the Allies' best escape artists in one place, Stalag Luft III. Then they sat around and tickled each other's testicle hairs while their prisoners dug so many tunnels under their camp the Germans could have financed the war by opening up a theme park.
I didn't realize American English had changed so drastically since 1963 when John ("The Magnificent Seven") Sturges directed this film. Apparently, back then, "great" referred to three guys escaping from a prison camp when the original intention was to have 250 guys escape. Today this film might be titled "The Pathetic Escape" or "The Escape with Big Expectations and Little Results" or "The Escape that Really Sucked."
Among the stupidest of the escapees is Hendley, the Scrounger (James Garner), who hauls along Blythe, the Forger (Donald Pleasence), who has gone blind. Amazingly, they get caught! Go figure. There's also the scene with Hilts, the Cooler King (Steve McQueen), who tries to outrun an entire squad of Nazis on a motorcycle because McQueen was a primadona and thought a scene with a motorcycle would be really cool.
The film is based on a novel by James Clavell, a prisoner of war himself, who's also responsible for writing lots of incredibly long novels that people mostly use as doorstops. Not surprisingly, "The Great Escape" is a mere three hours long, making one's ability to shut of the television or leave the theater at the end seem like the real great escape.
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