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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 <email@example.com>
The character portrayed by John Mills, Capt. Patrick Reid, is based on P.R. Reid, author of the novel on which the film was based. Reid, imprisoned at Colditz 1940-42 until his successful escape, also was technical consultant on the film. The German security officer, Paul Priem, also is portrayed (by Denis Shaw) under his actual name. Priem had died in 1943. All the other character names were invented for the film. 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 »
There is too much noise!
[nervously, as there are Polish POWs hidden in the room]
Oh, I'm sorry. We were laughing.
Ah, laughing! Oh, I see, you have the British humor. Well, Englishmen will laugh at anything...
[Tyler smiles and nods]
... but most people laugh at nothing. Here you will not laugh for long! Here you will remain until the war is won - by Germany! There will be no escape unless you wish to die!
[Sarcastically as he is leaving the room]
Now you can laugh if you wish.
See more »
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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