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The Wooden Horse (1950)

 |  Drama, History, War  |  16 October 1950 (UK)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 791 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 4 critic

True story of three British POWs and their attempt to escape from Nazi Germany.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (adapted from his novel by)
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Title: The Wooden Horse (1950)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Phil
Anthony Steel ...
John
...
Bennett
...
Nigel
Patrick Waddington ...
Senior British Officer
...
Robbie
...
Pomfret
Bryan Forbes ...
Paul
Dan Cunningham ...
David
...
Australian in Hospital
Philip Dale ...
Bill White
Russell Waters ...
'Wings' Cameron
Ralph Ward ...
Adjutant
Franz Schafheitlin ...
Camp Commandant
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Storyline

In a POW camp, the Nazis have placed the huts far from the boundary so that any escape tunnel would have to be a long one. One British officer has the idea of starting a daily gynmastics routine using a vaulting horse: they can place it near the boundary and start a tunnel from under it. He and two others do escape the camp by this means and plan to make for neutral Sweden. To do that, they'll not only have to move around without arousing any suspicions, but also find a stranger from a neutral or occupied country who'll be willing and able to help them. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

16 October 1950 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Campo 111  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Eric Williams, the author of the book that this film was based upon, was in fact one of the escapees (the story is autobiographical). When he originally wrote the story under wartime censorship he called himself "Peter Howard". See more »

Goofs

Whilst the escape is in progress there is a quick shot of a German guard near the compound fence. His rifle has a British pattern webbing sling,the upper brass buckle can be seen clearly. See more »

Quotes

[Doctor, visiting prisoners in hospital, hears they are listening to music by Beethoven]
Doctor: Ah, Beethoven. He is a good German.
Prisoner: [calls out from the background] Yes. He's dead.
See more »

Crazy Credits

It is the constant hope of nearly every prisoner-of-war -if not, indeed, his duty- to escape and rejoin his unit. This film shows how three British officers carried out an actual escape from a German camp in the last war. It was made mostly in Germany and Denmark, with the help of the British War Office and Air Ministry and of Danish and German civilians. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hotel! (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 6 in F major,
Pastoral", Op. 68" (uncredited)
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Has a quiet and hypnotic dignity
30 March 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 1943, a group of RAF Officers, including Eric Wiiliams, decide to escape from a POW camp using a Gymnastic Vaulting Horse in the courtyard. In 1950, it was decided to film his account, and it kick-started a peculiar British Film Genre- the Military Prison Camp story that reached its apogee in Danger Within (1959).

The Wooden Horse is one of the quietest films I have ever watched. There are no great dramatic moments, but a steady storyline eventually builds to a climax that has more tension because the story doesn't give way for unlikely drama, jump cuts or jacked up (somethings about to happen!) music. It is utterly of its time and works beautifully.

Leo Glenn, Anthony Steel and David Tomlinson lead a curiously low key cast of extras and (I suspect) non-actors. Without exception, all are constantly mono-tonal and quiet. They keep emotion out of their roles. As so many were, until recently, ex-service, I suspect they recreated their war time roles as 'Officers and Gentlemen'.

This unemotional approach does not detract from any dramatic tension. On the contrary, unlike most Wartime Escape Films, the story doesn't end at the barbed wire: and that fact alone keeps me glued to the end.


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