Following the suicide of an elderly Jewish man, a journalist in possession of the man's diary investigates the alleged sighting of a former SS captain, who allegedly commanded a concentration camp during WWII.
When several escapes at an German pow camp go wrong, the prisoners begin to think, that there is an informer revealing their plans to the enemy. Then Lt Ainsworth, an artist in civvie street, invents a model head of a fictious prisoner, who can take the place of an escaper, when the men march back from the bath house, which is situated outside the camp. Written by
[Reading out a letter from home]
Listen to this: "Cousin Tony has been taken prisoner and is in Stalag B. His mother says 'Can you pop round and see him'". Old girl must be crackers...
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There were quite a few British POW films in the '50's, some better than others. For some reason, the real ingenuity of escape attempts were glossed over, what so occupied the POWs attentions and on which depended their happiness and their lives: how uniforms, documents, stamps, photographs, tools etc could be made by with apparently none of what was necessary to make them. The films were thus human stories which though lacked much of what had been so crucial to the men involved. Here though the heart of the film is Albert RN - the life-like full size dummy used to take the place of a prisoner - and the virtuoso performances of its summoning out of the air in seconds, and its disassembly and disappearance again in seconds. Also along with the dummy itself, the way it was deployed, the plans for avoiding discovery and the on the spot quick thinking needed if the unexpected happened (when perhaps a dozen POW had to wordlessly devise and implement a plan in the presence of the German guards). And Albert R.N. was not just brought out to deceive the guards on the day of the escape but every day for a week to delay discovery of the escaped prisoner.
The other parts of the film are not quite up to par. Jack Warner did not convince physically as a serving naval officer, Anton Differing did his nasty Nazi once again (though who did it better?) but the marvel of Albert RN the dummy raised the bar and shone a light on the ingenuity, daring and skill of those who devised, built and operated him.
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