In Nazi Germany in 1936 seven men escape from a concentration camp. The camp commander puts up seven crosses and, as the Gestapo returns each escapee he is put to death on a cross. The ... See full summary »
In Nazi Germany in 1936 seven men escape from a concentration camp. The camp commander puts up seven crosses and, as the Gestapo returns each escapee he is put to death on a cross. The seventh cross is still empty as George Heisler seeks freedom in Holland. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When the escapees are being hunted, the only uniformed personnel we see chasing them are the 'Storm troopers' (Sturmabteilung) or SA. Even before the 'night of the Long Knives', the SA would not have been the only group to search for escapees & by 1936, the hunt would also have been carried out by the regular police and the Schutzstaffel (SS). See more »
Optimism is at the Heart of the Darkness of Nazi Germany
Seven prisoners escape from a German concentration camp, and the Nazi commander vows to capture and crucify all of them. One by one they are captured in some harrowing scenes and put up on the crosses outside the camp. The seventh cross, already placed, awaits the final escapee - played by a desperate Spencer Tracy. The fear and claustrophobia of being trapped, even as an escapee, inside Nazi Germany is easily seen through Tracy's able eyes. Most notable is the German couple that eventually aids Tracy despite their fear; they are played touchingly by the famous husband and wife team of Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, two of the great actors of our age. Signe Hasso plays a lovely but lonely maid with whom Tracy and she have a touching emotional connection. The hope symbolized by the couple and the maid within the darkness of Nazi Germany is at the core of the film. The issue of Tracy's escape - or non-escape - is almost irrelevant by then: the glimmer of humanity is seen even among the German people. Despite the apparent pessimism of the film, it is optimistic at its heart. And it is charming and beautifully done. Not to be missed.
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