Stalag 17 (1953) - Plot Summary Poster


Plot Summary

  • It's a dreary Christmas 1944 for the American POWs in Stalag 17. For the men in Barracks 4, all sergeants, have to deal with a grave problem - there seems to be a security leak. The Germans always seem to be forewarned about escapes and in the most recent attempt the two men, Manfredi and Johnson, walked straight into a trap and were killed. For some in Barracks 4, especially the loud-mouthed Duke, the leaker is obvious: J.J. Sefton, a wheeler-dealer who doesn't hesitate to trade with the guards and who has acquired goods and privileges that no other prisoner seems to have. Sefton denies giving the Germans any information and makes it quite clear that he has no intention of ever trying to escape. He plans to ride out the war in what little comfort he can arrange, but it doesn't extend to spying for the Germans. As tensions mount and a mob mentality takes root, it becomes obvious that Sefton will have to find the real snitch if he is to have any peace and avoid the beatings Duke and others have inflicted on him.

    - Written by garykmcd
  • American Army Sgt. Clarence Cook, nicknamed Cookie, remembers back to late 1944, when he was a POW in Stalag 17, in barrack number 4 along with several other US army sergeants, and the one major problem at that time of what everyone in the barrack believed was a traitor among their ranks. Everyone in the barrack partook in most of the communal activities, such as trying to cause grief for their German captors - for example, in hatching escape plans - and trying to catch glimpses of the Russian female POWs at the adjoining camp, everyone that is except for Sgt. J.J. Sefton. Cynical Sefton, with Cookie as his paid help, only looked out for himself. He ran a gambling ring and sold homemade alcohol made from potato scraps among other schemes, and got rich on what passed for currency on the inside, namely goods within Red Cross packages, primarily cigarettes, which he would in turn trade with the Germans for other luxuries. Seemingly no means of "earning cigarettes" was too low for him. But several incidents occurred during this period which made it seem like the camp officials, namely the smug Commandant Oberst von Scherbach, and the barrack staff sergeant, J.S. Schultz, seemed to know their every move, especially those which may have involved escape plans - none of which were ever successful - or Allied efforts within the bigger picture of the war, leading to the thought that there must be a traitor inside. Sefton didn't really care about there being a traitor, until he was implicated as that traitor in a situation involving actions by US Army Lt. James Dunbar, who was housed temporarily at the stalag. Sefton then took it upon himself to find out the identity of the traitor,... or was he doing so just to take the focus of he truly being the traitor? Regardless, the follow-up issue was what to do with whoever the traitor when his identity was truly discovered if that ever did occur.

    - Written by Huggo
  • One night in 1944 in a German POW camp housing American airmen, two prisoners try to escape the compound and are quickly discovered and shot dead. Among the remaining men, suspicion grows that one of their own is a spy for the Germans. All eyes fall on Sgt. Sefton who everybody knows frequently makes exchanges with German guards for small luxuries. To protect himself from a mob of his enraged fellow inmates, Sgt. Sefton resolves to find the true traitor within their midst.

    - Written by Jwelch5742
  • Set in a German POW Camp for enlisted American airmen, a spy is discovered to be living in one of the prison barracks after an escape attempt fails resulting in the deaths of two inmates. The prisoners at once suspect Sefton, an unscrupulous inside dealer who trades almost anything with the Germans for extra privileges. After Sefton is beaten up, he himself determines to find the real spy and the result is a mixture of intrigue and betrayal leading to a surprise ending.

    - Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>
  • A group of airmen are in a German Prisoner of War camp. Each escape attempt has resulted in failure and a spy is suspected. When the materially successful operator comes under suspicion, he becomes an outcast. When a new arrival is accused of being a spy and saboteur, the camp unites to hide him as the operator looks for the real plant.

    - Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>
  • No one has ever escaped from Stalag 17, a POW camp for American airmen near the Danube. Maybe that's because there's a spy in barracks four. The German guards seem to know everything that's happening before it happens. Most of the American POWs suspect Sergeant J.J. Sefton, whose wheeling-and-dealing rates him special privileges from the camp guards. When Lieutenant Dunbar arrives at the prison camp, and is accused of blowing up an ammunition train, the American prisoners must expose the stoolie before he informs the Germans where Dunbar is hiding, AND get Dunbar out of the "unescapable" camp before the SS arrives to take him into custody.

    - Written by Chris Bower <chrisbower78@hotmail.com>
  • When two escaping American World War II prisoners are killed, the German POW camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer.

    - Written by alfiehitchie


Captured Americans coping with life in a German POW camp in World War II are puzzled by the simplicity with which the Germans are able to stave off escape attempts...

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