Ryan, an American POW, leads his fellow prisoners on a dangerous escape from the Germans in Italy. Having seemingly made errors of judgment, Ryan has to win the support of the mainly British soldiers he is commanding. Written by
The most daring escape ever conceived. It begins at Pescara. It spreads into high adventure as they highjack their own prison train. It shoots past Rome... Florence... Bologna... It hightails into the Majola Pass with Messerschitts in hot pursuit... and makes a final frenzied lunge for Switzerland- and freedom! See more »
Mia Farrow was introduced to Frank Sinatra when she visited her friend John Leyton on the set. Farrow had co-starred with Leyton earlier that year when the actress made her screen debut in another British military drama, "Guns at Batasi." She and Sinatra later married. See more »
All of the German soldiers carrying MP38/40 sub-machine guns (including all of the guards on the train) were wearing the wrong ammo pouches. The MP38/40 fired 9mm pistol ammunition from a 32-round detachable box magazine. The soldiers were all wearing cartridge pouches designed to hold 5-round stripper clips of 7.92mm ammunition for a bolt-action Mauser rifle. This means none of the Germans carrying sub-machine guns had any ready ammunition available once they fired the 32 rounds in their only magazine. This is a common mistake in WWII TV shows and movies. See more »
The film credits and all promotion publicity still say "A Cinemascope Picture", and Alfred Newman's "extended" 20th Century-Fox fanfare is still heard on the soundtrack as the picture begins, but most of the film was actually shot in Panavision, at Frank Sinatra's insistence. See more »
From a slow start this build into an exciting if somewhat unrealistic war film. However, it was designed for entertainment and not to depict any remotely historical fact.
The cinematography and scenery look good and although no expert on trains, they look from the right period. The characters are not fleshed out but as this is an adventure film this lapse is not too important. Some of the main characters are also casualties by the end thus avoiding the usual Hollywood line from that period of everyone escaping without a scratch.
I'm not a big fan of Sinatra as an actor but he does well here depicting a flawed character who appears both likable and unlikeable. It is established early in the film that Col Ryan is not a career airman and has limited military experience and so it is not surprising that he makes some key mistakes although he does learn from them.
The supporting cast is good although with the exception of John Leyton far too old to have been on military service.
Not up with the very best WW2 films but well above the average.
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