Steve McQueen







The Great Escape

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The Great Escape
C L A S S I C  M O V I E S


All images 20th Century Fox.

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1963, 169 MINS, US, Colour

  • Dir: John Sturges
  • Prod: John Sturges
  • Scr: James Clavell, W. R. Burnett
  • Ph: Daniel Fapp
  • Ed: Ferris Webster
  • Mus: Elmer Bernstein
  • Art Dir: Fernando Carrere

    CAST:

  • Steve McQueen
  • James Garner
  • Richard Attenborough
  • Charles Bronson
  • Donald Pleasence
  • James Coburn

    (United Artists)


    From Paul Brickhill's true story of a remarkable mass breakout by Allied POW's during World War II, producer-director John Sturges has fashioned a motion picture that entertains, captivates, thrils and stirs.

    The film is an account of the bold, meticulous plotting that led to the escape of 76 prisoners from a Nazi detention camp, and subsequent developments that resulted in the demise of 50, recapture of a dozen.

    Early scenes depict the formulation of the mass break design. These are played largely for laughs, at the occasional expense of reality, and there are times when authority seems so lenient that inmates almost appear to be running the asylum.

    There are some exceptional performances. The most provocative single impression is made by Steve McQueen as a dauntless Yank pilot whose 'pen'-manship shows 18 blots, or escape attempts. James Garner is the compound's 'scrounger', a traditional type in the Stalag 17 breed of war-prison film. Charles Bronson and James Coburn do solid work, although the latter's character is anything but clearly defined.

    British thespians weigh in with some of the finest performances in the picture. Richard Attenborough is especially convincing in a stellar role, that of the man who devoses the break. A moving portrayal of a prisoner losing his eyesight is given by Donald Pleasence. It is the film's most touching character.

    Elmer Bernstein's rich, expressive score is consistently . His martial, Prussianistic theme is particularly stirring and memorable.

    OSCARS

  • 1963 Nomination: Best Editing

    5 STARS OUT OF 5 - UNMISSABLE. RIGHTFULLY CONSIDERED ONE OF THE GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME OF ANY GENRE

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    Random Facts

  • Steve McQueen's earnings for The Great Escape: $400,000.

  • McQueen's motorcycle stunts were peformed by his old mate, world-champion bike rider Bud Ekins.

  • The film marked the beginning of a brief professional association and lifelong friendship with Richard Attenborough.

  • According to James Coburn, McQueen was almost impossible to be around on the set of The Great Escape. "He kept saying: 'why can't movies just be about one guy and why can't that guy be me?'" McQueen kicked up such a fuss that the studio flew out screenwriter W R Burnett who rewrote Virgil Hilts to Steve's specifications. It was a measure Coburn didn't fully approve of. "I don't think his character fits into the picture, wearing those jeans and that sweatshirt. And as for that baseball mit, well, Steve was the most unatheletic guy in the world. If you threw a ball at him, he'd run away from it."

  • The Great Escape was McQueen's third movie with John Sturges, Robert Relyea and James Coburn and his second with Charles Bronson.

  • McQueen won the Best Actor award at the Moscow International Film Festival for his performance.


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    Steve McQueen Dvds

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