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Old January 8th, 2017, 08:54 PM   #11

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Originally Posted by Yossarian View Post
So I watched the movie The Great Escape the other night.

Hadn't seen it in many years. Probably since I was in my early 20s. And before I became a serious history freak. It used to be one of my favorite WWII flicks. And I probably would have called it my favorite POW escape yarn. Up until now, that is.

Funny how I nver noticed before, and also funny how much having some education on a topic can alter your previous opinion of a movie.

I now see how silly and preposterous the plot was. I mean, c'mon, guys. Here we are supposed to believe that the POW camp they were in was one especially designed to incarcerate the most wily and dangerous escape artists that the Nazis had ever tried to hold. And the staff--which would have been SS, BTW--was handpicked so as to deal with these guys and keep them under wraps.

LOL...but yet, the prisoners are given work details with shovels and picks and other tools and allowed to roam all over the grounds. And the camp is set in a woodsy idyllic area that is ripe for blending into after escape. And worse, AFTER a failed escape attempt, no penalizing sanctions are added, save for a stint in the "cooler." (where you can even bring your ball and glove and have a nice game of catch!)

The movie played more like a comedy to me now. And I'm not sure that the whole thing was not originally intended to be a sort of satire on the whole WWII POW escape yarn. An I am wondering now if perhaps "Hogan's Heroes" might've used TGE for a template?

Not to say the flick is not still entertaining. So long as you file your brain away while watching and expect no real historical detail.

But if you're after a more fact-based movie in that genre, me thinks you would be better served watching Stalag 17 or King Rat.

So, I can't be the only one to notice the logical shortcomings and plot holes in this allegedly great movie, can I? Who else finds the movie to have gone a bit too far with artistic license?
As has been noted, most of the things you find unrealistic in the Great Escape were portrayed accurately. Names are changed and some characters are composites of several men, but the camp, the guards, the prisoners, and their planning and execution of the escape are portrayed accurately. They only went overboard with artistic license once the men escaped the camp - the stolen motorcycle and airplane bits are pure Hollywood.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 02:09 AM   #12

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Originally Posted by Fiver View Post
As has been noted, most of the things you find unrealistic in the Great Escape were portrayed accurately. Names are changed and some characters are composites of several men, but the camp, the guards, the prisoners, and their planning and execution of the escape are portrayed accurately. They only went overboard with artistic license once the men escaped the camp - the stolen motorcycle and airplane bits are pure Hollywood.
As noted in my earlier post--while the motorcycle chase was pure fiction--stealing the aircraft was "borrowed" from an earlier escape from the camp. In June 1943, six months before the "Great" escape, Bushnell (Big-X) had organised a mass escape of twenty-six prisoners. This was achieved without digging as four prisoners wore uniforms modified to look like Luftwaffe uniforms and carrying fake rifles made from scrap wood, simply lined the others up for a "shower parade" and marched them out of main gate past the guards towards a shower block located beyond the wire. As soon as they were beyond the wire, the men melted into the woods and transformed themselves into "civilians" and went on the run. The ruse was discovered within an hour when the "real" shower party escort turned up.
Most of the prisoners were recaptured within the day, most at the local railway station, but the four in the fake uniforms--Flight Lieutenants Walter Morrison, Lome Welch and J.G. Stower and USAAF Lt. William Hill managed to clear the area. Morrison & Welch chanced on Kupper airfield about five miles NE of the camp. They cruised into the base and attempted to prep. a Junkers W-34, some Luftwaffe ground crew noted their difficulty in starting the aircraft and offered to help (the Junkers needed an external hand-crank), but neither RAF officer knew sufficient German to understand the ground crew's instructions and they bluffed their way into beating a hasty retreat. The next day they made another attempt with a less ambitious two-seater trainer, but were nabbed while sitting in the cockpit trying to decipher the controls.
There were several attempts by escaping allied airmen to steal aircraft (and a couple from Axis PoWs too), the only successful one appears to be the one by USAAF pilot Bob Hoover (well known to TV WW2 history buffs).https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...=.20dcbb33735b
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Old January 9th, 2017, 08:16 AM   #13

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Thanks, Ancientgeezer.
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Old January 9th, 2017, 12:15 PM   #14
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I believe that was the case for Colditz, not sure if they made a movie about it but there is a tv show.

The POWs were busy building a glider to fly out but then the war ended.
There was an old B&W movie The Colditz Story, British made that I watched in the 50s
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Old January 9th, 2017, 12:52 PM   #15
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Noted this movie a lot when I have seen it, which is several times. I knew long after it was made that there was some truth to the story but that, typically, it had been tarted up "to sell". I try to remember at all times that movies are made to make money which means they are made to first of all, to entertain. That's why bankable stars like Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and Richard Attenborough are in the movie, not to forget Donald Plessance and others. It's a rollicking tale with a rather unhappy ending which also mostly happened as a result of the second escape attempt. Reminded me a bit of Von Ryan's Express actually, which was entirely fictional.

Last edited by royal744; January 9th, 2017 at 01:12 PM.
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Old January 18th, 2017, 07:03 PM   #16
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LION, the story of an Indian boy adopted by an Australian couple from Tasmania. Quite an interesting and affecting story, very emotional, really, because it is a true story. I highly recommend this movie.
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