Saturday, November 23, 2013

Flick Pick: The Great Escape

The Great Escape
(MGM, 1963)

The greatest wartime prison break ever, and a movie based on it that's become a cultural icon. James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and Steve McQueen in the role that made him an absolute rock star of coolness. (If you're keeping score at home, that's three of the original Magnificent Seven right there, which, no surprise, was also directed by John Sturges, and also with an Elmer Bernstein score.) Originally released on the Fourth of July, this was one of the highest-grossing movies of the year, and highly rated among both critics and audiences ever since, for good reason.


Sgt 73rd Regt said...

One of my all time favourite war movies from the classic era of the 60's. I can even overlook the fact that no Americans took part in the escape as the Germans had moved them to another compound months before the break-out; I know they need big star appeal to sell movies & Steve McQueen was a good choice as the lead.

What I can never forgive (as an Aussie) is casting James Coburn as the Australian Flying Officer Louis Sedgewick!!

Aesop said...

Have a heart, mate.

Mel Gibson was only 6, Geoffrey Rush was 11, Bryan Brown was only 15, even Jack Thompson and Bill Hunter were 5 or more years from even beginning to act, and it's not like casting choices were falling off of trees in 1962, is it?

Even by 1966, the only Australian star most American audiences were familiar with was Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo.

While you're overlooking the part that no Americans escaped in that particular escape, nota bene that the composite characters the film explains were based on some very real Americans who did, in fact, have quite a bit to do with all the details of that escape and others from Stalag Luft III, including David M. Jones, a Doolittle Raider later shot down over N. Africa and leader of the digging team for "Harry", and Army Col. Jerry Sage of the OSS, the actual "Cooler King" in S.L. III who both worked on the escape, and upon whom McQueen's character was largely based.
Putting Americans into the story wasn't a mere Hollywood fictional invention to fill theatre seats.

Sgt 73rd Regt said...

Point taken mate, I would have liked to see Rod Taylor in the movie but I think he was making "The Birds" the same year "The Great Escape" was made.

I still think that his first starring role in a movie, "The Time machine" is the best version made.