Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

The Great Escape

Posted on

The Great Escape

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG
runtime:
172 minutes
performer:
Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Garner, Donald Pleasence
director:
John Sturges
distributor:
Criterion
author:
James Clavell
genre:
ActionAdventure, War

We gave it a B+

It’s a well-made thriller about allied POWs tunneling out of a Nazi concentration camp, but The Great Escape doesn’t merit the reverential treatment it gets in this supplement-laden disc. Tedious production details — what town it was, what time it was, which flunky got cast as an extra that day — are annotated in numbing detail in a three-hour alternate-audio-track commentary. Typical insight from journeyman director John Sturges: ”It seemed like a good idea, so we did it.” By the time you wade through appended still- frame galleries of location photos, script excerpts of cut scenes, and an account of the real Stalag Luft III breakout, you feel like a permanent captive. The whole impeccably researched project goes way past film scholarship into the realm of trivial pursuit. The Great Escape: B+ Supplements: B-