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|Index||11 reviews in total|
This outstanding series is the kind of psychological drama at which the British excell. Set almost entirely within a reconstruction of the now-famous castle-fortress prisoner-of-war camp during WWII, there is little in the way of physical action. Instead we're treated to some of the best form of "mind games" and psychological manoeuvring and competition you can hope to see on TV, as the two sides constantly strive to get one over on the other. The Allied prisoners are determined not to be beaten mentally by their surroundings and look for every possible means of escape, while the Germans are always on their toes, looking for clues about possible break-outs and ways in which the Allied prisoners are trying to outsmart them. I couldn't tear myself away from the series when it first came out in Britain, and I was pleased to see how little it had aged when it was reshown on the History Channel a couple of years ago. Excellent acting and strong story lines make this a must-see for me. Out of 10, I'd rank it about 13.6!!
"Colditz" was shown here in Finland as a rerun in 1997-98.
It was based on the books "Colditz and the Latter Days" by Pat Reid which
tell the story of a group of Allied POWs who have been sent to the most
heavily guarded prison camp in Germany.
The series was so good that I did not miss a single show of it, I also bought the books on Colditz written by Reinhold Eggers (known as Ullmann in the series) and Pat Reid.
The series show how the POWs had to live in Colditz, a few went insane some died while trying to escape and some made a succesful escape. The series is among the best when it comes to drama.
Being a great fan of Secret Army, I am one of the many people who have
bought up the recent DVD release ... and from what I understand ... the
producers did Colditz before SA ... it won British Academy Awards and
was extremely popular.
After the great success of the Secret Army DVD releases, isn't it time Colditz was released on DVD too? I would definitely buy it. What do you think guys?
There is just so much good stuff from the 1970's and 60's .... it was a classic period
The more people asking for some of it on DVD, the more likely we are to actually have it released.
I watched this on T.V. as a Kid, IN PARTICULAR i liked the character
played by Bernard Hepton as the commandant and can remember as if it
was yesterday this unique part, right down to the frequent clearing of
the throat and his general manner, i can never recall missing an
episode and used to look forward to it being screened every week,
needless to say i was very disappointed when the Series came to an end
and would love to own the whole series, Anyone out there know if this
was ever released on Video or D.V.D. and if so where it can be obtained
OR WHEN IT MAY BE RE-SCREENED IN THE FUTURE ?
Please let me know if any one notices it popping up on the History Channel again in the future, Gary@ichthus88.force9.co.uk, Thanks in advance Cheers - Gary
I found this show very very good. I really enjoyed the acting, the costumes and the use of the German Language. (as a student of the German language, it was rather nice knowing what they were saying and not some gibberish to throw the average viewer off) The escape stories and sub-plots kept me on the edge of my seat. To me, this was not some mindless TV show where you switch your brain off. What held my interest was that it made you think. It was almost like playing chess. Who makes the next move? Robert Wagner, Jack Hedley and David McCallum are my favorites but I must say, I also found some of the German actors appealing too. Hans Meyer and Bernard Hepton were both splendid. It was nice seeing Mr. Hepton play a Kommandant after seeing him play a barkeeper in Secret Army (another British war/drama) Mr. Meyer's character (Hauptmann Ulmann) was as cold as ice and sometimes, those are the hardest characters to play. (his eyes - how many closeups did that guy have?) This show was not only entertaining, but I found it to be quite educational too. I plan to visit Colditz on my next trip to Germany. Unfortunately, I never did see the end of the series, so I don't know how it ends. I only saw up until end of first season (gone away part 1 and 2) so, if anyone saw the series (or remembers it) please feel free to e-mail me and tell me what happens. I think when History Channel decides to play it again, I'll probably be in Germany and these shows and channels are not available - even on satellite.
This grim and claustrophobic series chronicles the lives of the allied
prisoners in the supposedly escape-proof Colditz Castle designated
Oflag IV-C during World War II. It describes events from the arrival of
the first British prisoners after Dunkirk to join the existing Polish,
French and Dutch prisoners, until the liberation of the castle by the
Americans in 1945.
It records many attempts to escape, as well as the relationships formed between the various nationalities and their German captors. A grudging respect gradually develops between the two sides. Colditz is a Sonderlager (special camp), designed by the Nazis to hold high-risk and later Prominente (politically important prisoners).
Lieutenant Colonel John Preston (Jack Hedley) is the Senior British Officer (SBO). He is the very embodiment of British stiff upper lip. He gets along well with the Commandant, whom he respects but is adept at manipulating.
The Commandant (Bernard Hepton), known only by his forename Karl, is a moderate and honourable Oberst (Colonel), a Wehrmacht man, who adheres to the Geneva Convention to the best of his ability. He is anxious to be seen by the German authorities as running an orderly camp in order to prevent the SS and Gestapo from taking control. He relies on Colonel Preston to keep the British prisoners in check.
Captain Pat Grant (Edward Hardwicke) a young, hot-headed RAF officer who frequently finds himself in solitary confinement, is the first British escape officer in Colditz. His post is later taken by Flight Lieutenant Simon Carter (David McCallum), so that Pat Grant can himself attempt escape.
Hauptmann (Captain) Franz Ulmann (Hans Meyer) is the Security Officer at Colditz. His job is to prevent escapes. Like the Commandant, he is a Wehrmacht man who has no love for the SS. Because of his careful planning and sharp eyes and mind, he is able to avert many escape attempts as well as many attempts of the SS to take over the camp.
Major Horst Mohn (Anthony Valentine) is a very highly connected Nazi Party member. He constantly finds himself in conflict with the Commandant, and is frustrated by what he perceives as the treating of prisoners with 'kid gloves'. The prisoners loathe him. Unfortunately for them, he is ruthlessly intelligent and occasionally pulls off a devastating coup.
Almost all of the events depicted in the series have a basis in truth. While there is not a direct one-to-one relationship between the real and televised characters, most of the televised characters are loosely based on actual persons.
A major goof is that throughout the series captured British fliers are shown wearing full dress uniform, which of course they would not have worn on flying operations.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I looked into this show after seeing Secret Army, everyone's old
favorite. Colditz was actually made before Secret Army though. Many of
the same actors make appearances. They come up with great stories with
lots of nerve-wracking suspense, just like S.A. did.
Also like S.A., it's interesting how the good guys and bad guys are not so clear. Sometimes fellow prisoners are the villain; sometimes the Germans end up being unlikely saviors. The Germans even have enemies of their own in the SS, who are itching to get their hands on the camp and run it their own brutal way. The Germans are actual well-rounded characters, as well. They are as much a part of the story as the prisoners. They are not portrayed as just generic goons thwarted at every turn.
I agree with one other reviewer (although not quite as strongly) that the series wasn't quite as good in the second season. The first season finale with Carrington and Grant's big home run was the pinnacle, and it left me very excited to see what happened in the second season, but unfortunately I was a little disappointed. Still worth watching, but perhaps they set the bar a little too high for themselves in the first season.
I'd say my favorite episodes were Tweedledum, Gone Away (parts I and II) Odd Man In, and Chameleon (just because I laughed out loud when Mohn was trying to buddy up to the prisoners to save his own sorry butt) A couple things I didn't really like: - Lt. Dick Player is inexplicably absent from the final few episodes... Kind of sucks because he was easily one of the most interesting characters.
- Some of the Americans who show up towards the end have awful accents. I looked it up and I think Phil Carrington might be the only American character played by an American actor.
- I found the ending rather... Anticlimactic. I'm not sure if it's because I accidentally read the synopsis of the last episode on Wikipedia, and thus the suspense was ruined for me, but I think it could have been done a little better.
Overall, good show. I'll probably watch it again in a few months.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the sort of series where you get invested in the plots and
characters and if you watch one episode, you want to see the next until
you've gone through the series! It focuses mainly on British soldiers
plotting to escape from the almost escape-proof Colditz prison in
Germany in WW 2. I've seen Series 1 which seems to be 1940-1941. The
United States has not yet entered the war (to my shame) at the time the
story is unfolding. Maybe in Series 2 I'll hear about the Yanks joining
anyway, it is riveting. How on earth can these men keep coming up with new plans, new devices, new tools for escape? But they do. And you mostly want them to escape, yet if your favorite characters DO escape, they will not show up in the next episodes so you have mixed feelings! There is one American who has joined the RAF, and he's played very well by Robert Wagner. I thought he was an average actor, but with the right director he can be really good.
Aside from the plots, the different personality types that coexist in a prison environment make for great psychological drama. One of the best episodes has British actor Michael Bryant feigning madness in order to be sent back to England. It's the "Tweedledum" episode and it is haunting.
I think it is hard to find this series on Region 1 DVD but I found a copy so maybe others can. You won't be sorry!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Colditz aired between 1972 and 1974. The series is based on the books
by Pat Reid, who was a British officer held in Colditz who managed to
escape. The series stars David McCallum, Edward Hardwicke, Bernard
Hepton, Jack Hedley, Christopher Neame, Hans Meyer,Robert Wagner, Paul
Chapman, Richard Heffer and Anthony Valentine.
Colditz chronicles the day to day lives of the allied prisoners held in Colditz Castle during the Second World War. This German castle was well guarded and situated on top of a hill, it was believed to be escape proof. The allied prisoners soon proved otherwise. The prisoners held in Colditz were all people who had escaped from other prisons and were recaptured.
The series main focus is on the British prisoners. The German soldiers who guard the prisoners are also focused on and we also meet prisoners from other countries including France and Poland.The series shows the escape attempts, some successful and some not successful by prisoners. The ideas they came up with are very clever and you admire their courage and ingenuity as they put their ideas into practice.
Colonel Preston (Jack Hedley)is the officer in command of the British prisoners. Preston encourages escape attempts but also insists his men follow orders. Preston develops a relationship of mutual respect and admiration with Colditz's Kommandant (Bernard Hepton).
The Kommandant is a Wehrmacht officer and he despises the Nazis as much as the allied prisoners do. He is an honourable man and is worried about his son who is fighting in the army. The Kommandant disciplines prisoners caught attempting escape but respects them all, he is sometimes even greatly amused by some of the things they do.
The Kommandant's security chief is Franz Ullmann(Hans Meyer), a difficult man to read Ullmann is intelligent, observant and loyal to the Kommandant. He is always trying to catch the prisoners in the act of escaping. Ullmann also respects the prisoners and their escape attempts.
Pat Grant(Edward Hardwicke)is the British escape officer, a clever and focused man, Pat organises escape attempts but as escape officer he cannot take part in an escape himself. Grant is based on Pat Reid. Later in the series the others decide he deserves to escape himself and he is replaced as escape officer by Flight Lieutenant Simon Carter(David McCallum).
Simon is a recently married man and is terribly homesick and depressed when he realises his stay in Colditz looks to be a long one. He is a worthy successor to Grant and is one of the most likable characters in the series.
American Flight Lieutenant Phil Carrington(Robert Wagner)is a maverick and at first he and Simon are always arguing but end up becoming really close friends.
Highly decorated Nazi officer Major Horst Mohn(Anthony Valentine)is assigned to Colditz later in the series, he is one of the most despised characters in TV history. Mohn is a ruthless and cunning man and he fights the Kommandant for stronger punishment for prisoners and wants some SS officers assigned to the castle. Even the Kommandant and Ullmann despise him and he is as much a risk for them as he is for the allied prisoners.
Other characters include Captain Tim Downing(Richard Heffer),Lieutenant Dick Player(Christopher Neame)and Captain George Brent(Paul Chapman).
The entire cast are superb. Special praise must go to David McCallum, Hans Meyer, Anthony Valentine, Bernard Hepton and Jack Hedley. The series is thrilling and suspenseful and does a good job of showing the harsh conditions faced by the real prisoners. The escape attempts are ingenious and it's great fun when an attempt is successful. Guest stars include Patrick Troughton, Geoffrey Palmer, Joanna David and Michael Bryant.
My favourite episodes are Frogs in the Well, Traitor, Name, Rank and Number, Tweedledum, Gone Away part 1 and 2 and French Leave.
One reviewer mentions Colditz as being shown on History Channel. Oops, missed it. Anyway, I recall in the early 1970s(?), Robert Wagner discussing this series on the Tonight Show, and, others of the ilk. I'm guessing that he, and others, assumed this would be picked up by US television. It was the dawning of the age of the mini-series, and, other Brit produced shows had done well. Especially on PBS. Never happened, and, apparently no DVD release either. Will this go down in tele-history as one of the great series that never was ? Earlier flick The Colditz Story is great. One wonders what the producers did with more than two hours to fill.
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