Colditz castle was used by the Nazis to hold the "bad boys", (those who regularly tried to escape from other camps). At all times the guards outnumbered the prisoners and, because some political prisoners were also held there they were *very* strictly monitored. But if you put all those people in one place and they're all trying to escape, well ... Written by
Steve Crook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Colditz Castle is a Renaissance castle in the town of Colditz near Leipzig, Dresden, and Chemnitz in the state of Saxony in Germany. See more »
According to the calendar on the Kommandant's desk during his interview with Colonel Richmond about moving the Polish prisoner, the date is "Dienstag Oktober 4" (Tuesday October 4). October 4 did not fall on a Tuesday at all during WW2, although it did in 1955, the year of the film's release. See more »
[watching a particularly rough game in the excercise yard]
Who was it said our ancestors were apes?
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Opening credits: "Every incident in the film you are about to see is true. With the exception of the author, Major P.R.Reid,M.B.E.,M.C., who acted as technical adviser on the film, all names have been changed and certain events have been related out of their historical context. These and only these liberties have been taken with ...." See more »
Sir John Mills plays a POW who attempts to lead an escape crew out of the notorious high security German POW camp during WWII but the penultimate attempt is almost thwarted from within after the plan's conceiver (Rhodes) is dissuaded from participating by the British Colonel (Portman) due to his bulky frame. When Rhodes makes an opportunistic and futile attempt to escape, Mills feels compelled to stand down, but is persuaded by Portman to carry on regardless.
Timid account bares similarities with "The Great Escape" made almost a decade later, most notably Rhodes vis-a-vis John Leyton's character. The tunnelling method used for the final escape attempt is also an obvious source of comparison but the daring and audacity in Colditz is more pronounced (during a vaudeville theatre show put on by the prisoners to distract the guards). Distinguished cast includes future comedians Ian Carmichael and Lionel Jeffries, as well as Bryan Forbes and Richard Wattis. Frederick Valk, who plays the German commandant has a few "Hogan's Heroes" moments with Portman and his corpulent watchman (Heller, who made a career of playing this type) which contributes to the film's sometimes casual tone, lacking tension and suspense.
Satisfying conclusion and some well timed humour (the "my wife went to the West Indies of her own accord" gag still rates a chuckle) hit the high notes needed, and consequently, Colditz rates as a watchable if somewhat formula war-time prison escape fare.
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