A prisoner of war working at a zoo gets the chance to escape from the Germans, so he does and he takes with him the elephant that he's been caring for. Together they head for the Swiss border and freedom.
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In WW2, captured British soldier Stephen Brooks is on a prison train to Germany.On the train he meets an American prisoner, Packy, who's obsessed with escaping.Brooks tries to temper Packy and reminds him that escaped prisoners are shot if recaptured.Packy is insistent despite Brooks' warnings. On arrival at the POW camp Stalag 7A, Brooks and other fellow POWs are sent to work at the local Munich zoo, to care for the animals.Brooks is assigned to care for Lucy the elephant.The German caretaker in charge of Lucy is asked to train Brooks in his new job.At first, Brooks hates the assignment, considering the large amount of animal waste to be cleaned daily.However, he eventually becomes attached to Lucy the elephant.After a devastating bombing raid that kills some of the animals and zoo staff it is decided to evacuate the surviving animals.Lucy is scheduled to be transported by train to Innsbruck, Austria.On the departure day, the train is commandeered by a moody SS Colonel, for his ... Written by
I stumbled on this movie on a Sunday afternoon and, having nothing better to do, sat down to watch. I wasn't expecting much--director Michael Winner doesn't have the strongest reputation--but this was a very well-done film. It has that 60s anti-establishment tone, though Oliver Reed's character is more indifferent to war than an outright rebel. When he is captured, Reed's character, Hannibal Brooks, volunteers to work at the Munich zoo and becomes the caretaker for the zoo's elephant, Lucy. When the German caretaker is killed in a bombing raid, Brooks is put in charge and directed to take the elephant to safety in Ausria. What follows is a series of largely comic misadventures, though the film does develop a serious tone as it goes on. Unable to take the elephant by train, Brooks sets off on foot, accompanied by two German guards and a female cook.
There is some great German scenery in the film as Brooks and company make their way into the high country. Following the accidental death of one of the guards, plans change and the remaining trio make their way to Switzerland. There's a rogueish American escapee, played by Michael J. Pollard, who keeps crossing paths with Brooks, as well as a German officer, played by Wolfgang Preiss, whose path crosses Brooks' as well. Rather reluctantly, Brooks becomes something of a hero, though he's motivated more by his desire to keep Lucy safe than by anything else. A very enjoyable movie that I wouldn't mind seeing again some time.
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