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 ...
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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 <email@example.com>
This film was first telecast in Los Angeles 11 January 1957 on KTTV, in New York City 5 October 1957 on WCBS and in San Francisco 9 January 1960 on KGO-TV. See more »
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 »
I familiar with Zinnemann's last five movies and am a great fan of his last one "Five days one summer", which has received more undeserving brickbats than bouquets from some wellknown critics. It is evident to me that Zinnemann was more 'sinned against than sinning.' After seeing "The Seventh Cross", I am convinced that this man was never given given his due recognition because he was so different from his peers.
The story of "The Seventh Cross" is narrated by a dead man. For us in the current decade having seen films like "The Others" such a script as this one is not uncommon. But in the Forties, this must have been groundbreaking.
The casting is superb. Spencer Tracy is fascinating and a superb choice. This is one of his finest performances--because he does not speak much--just like "Bad Day at Black Rock."
Agnes Moorehead appears for a few minutes but presents a delightful character that adds to the strength of the film. I thought Russ Tamblyn was the acrobat who does not speak a single line but the IMDb records indicate that I am mistaken. Was I? Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy were a delight to watch as always. The character of Signe Hasso (Toni) is probably the least appropriate character in the film but one guesses that necessity for a love interest for the lead character in a film like this.
For me the actors played a major part in making the film a wonderful viewing experience. But the real contributors to making the work impressive were Zinnemann and the cinematographer Karl Freund. The opening sequence showing the faces of the escapees establish the credibility of the two gentlemen behind the camera. The camerawork of Freund is always interesting but this film shows the chemistry between director and cinematographer.
Zinnemann's choice of subjects to film has always made me wonder about the man. It is evident that he was a very sensitive person who valued great ideals. He was probably heartbroken that his last film was not accepted as much as his other work based on popular novels and plays.
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