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During World War II, the prisoners of a German camp on a Greek island are trying to escape. They don't want only their freedom, but they also seek for an ineffable treasure hidden in a monastery at the top of the island's mountain. Written by
Chris Makrozahopoulos <firstname.lastname@example.org>
So the 70s was the last great age of movie-making, huh?
Escape to Athena is another nail in the theory that the 70s was a golden age of movie-making. It's a typical example of those transatlantic star-studded messes so beloved of Lew Grade after the modest success of The Eagle Has Landed led him to inflict the likes of The Cassandra Crossing (okay, that one is a guilty pleasure), Voyage of the Damned and Michael Winner's The Big Sleep on the world. A bizarre cross between Hogan's Heroes and The Guns of Navarone (well, director and co-scenarist George Pan Cosmatos was in charge of the luncheon vouchers for the extras on that one), it throws in everyone and everything but the kitchen sink in the hope that the audiences will be too dazzled by the three ring circus to notice that virtually none of it is any good. Thus we have Roger Moore as a corrupt Austrian prison camp commandant-cum-antique dealer, Elliott Gould as a bad standup comedian, Sony Bono as an Italian cook, Telly Savalas as a Greek resistance leader, Claudia Cardinale as the local Madame, David Niven as an archaeologist, Stefanie Powers as a stripper, and Richard Roundtree as a magician, all of whom know they're in a piece of rubbish and act accordingly. But then, what else is there to do in a plot (of sorts) that sees them take over a prison camp, save various Greeks from SS man Anthony Valentine's firing squad, destroy a submarine refuelling dump and blow up the local monastery-cum-V3 launching pad without ever managing to generate much excitement or interest? Aside from a nice throwaway cameo from William Holden reprising his Stalag 17 character, some good aerial photography and a surprisingly good motorcycle chase, this one has nothing much going for it, least of all the dire disc number over the end credits.
For the more masochistic of you out there, the UK DVD boasts a decent 2.35:1 transfer, trailer and several cast and crew inteviews.
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