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Genghis Khan (1965)
The Final Shot for the Classical Epic Spectaculars
Perhaps it was after the entertaining and lavish "El Cid" (1961) that classical epic films of the 50's and early 60'started to fade away as big money making films. "Cleopatra" (1963) and "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964) -both with some good moments but not great films all in all- showed that things were not being done right in the genre.
"Ghengis Khan" is definitely a bad movie. Leaving aside historical accuracy -there's not much in the film-, it doesn't even work as a high adventure freely based on the Mongol king's whereabouts.
The cast is wrongly chosen starting with Omar Sharif -as the Khan himself- who can't bring power and credibility to the character at any moment. Francoise Dorleac appears as a contemporary woman, in her looks as well as in her personality. Such good actors as James Mason and Robert Morley are totally out of place and even funny here disguised as Chinese characters. Henry Levin's direction lacks imagination and strengh all along as also does the script.
There are no highlights whatsoever in this cheap-looking and dull film that even makes John Wayne's western-like "The Conqueror" (1953) about the same character appear as an acceptable product.
In all, Levin's "Ghemgis Khan" has many chances to be the worst film ever made in its kind.
Depends on Your Focus
If you take "300" as an historical film about the heroic battle of the Greek (Spartans really) against the Persians at the Thermopylae pass back in 480 BC many items won't fit and it won't work. If you consider the movie as a fantasy in ancient Greece based on real events and people it turns out as a an enjoyable and entertaining product no doubt.
The main features here are a splendid photography, light -and somehow intense- colour, action sequences carefully shot, some bizarre characters -such as Ephialtes or Xerxes himself- and a couple of mythological animals, all that clearly shows this is a comic book put into an epic film.
On this second focus "300" is surely worth a watch if only to see what "computarized" special effects can do for action movies in our days.
Il gatto a nove code (1971)
Not Argento's Best , but Interesting and Enjoyable
"The Cat O'Nine Tales" is not one of the most celebrated thrillers of Italian director Dario Argento, and yet the film is a very good one in its kind. The plot is rather simple and entertaining -several mysterious murders related with a scientific institute in Rome that deals with human criminal behaviour based on genetics- and it is skilfully handled all along by the director up to the final disclosure.
By the time of this movie (his second one, of the early 70's), Argento still appears more controlled than in his later works were he focused specially on the murder and killing sequences far more sadistic and bloody ("Tenebbre" / 1982 and "Opera" / 1987, for instance); but, on the other hand, his plots were more elaborated and inspired like in "The Bird with the Cristal Plumage" / 1970 or "Deep Red" / 1975).
The masterful handling of cameras and the peaks of high tension that became a trade mark in the Roman director's career will not be missed in this one (the murder sequence at the train station as seen from the eyes of the killer is excellent). The usual internationally recognized actors in the leading roles -surely to benefit world wide markets- and the local (Italian) performers in the supporting parts are also found here; and though acting was never one of Argento's principal items to attend to, the presence of the always convincing and reliable Karl Malden and the correct James Franciscus bring to this film an extra "plus" (in spite of an interesting but wooden Catherine Spaak).
All in all, "The Cat O'Nine Tails" turns out as a fine and most entertaining product in its genre that will surely not disappoint thriller/horror fans.
The Big Gamble (1961)
The story of three people (Stephen Boyd, Juliette Greco and David Wayne) that go all the way from Ireland to the Ivory Coast in Africa to put on a truck business there.
Real action is supposed to start when they take a cargo of beer by truck through half the dark continent, but it never quite does; in fact the film recalls one of those current PC games for kids where they mustremove lots of obstacles in order to reach a final goal; here they have to free the truck from the Custom house, put aside a huge down tree across the road, go backwards in a thin pass with a mountain and an abyss on each side, avoid a crook who wants to steal their cargo, cross a wide growing river with the vehicle and go down full speed on a narrow road without brakes, but in fact powerful action and thrills never appear.
Stephen Boyd does well as the leader of the group but doesn't add much to his acting career with this one. Juliette Greco looks sensual and interesting as his wife and David Brian just goes along.
Definitely not one of prolific and versatile director Richard Fleischer's best products, perhaps "The Big Gamble" stands a watch but no much more than that.
Plein soleil (1960)
An Excellent European Thriller
Tom Ripley is the poor friend of the wealthy and arrogant Philippe Greenleaf who spends his time sailing on the Mediterranean sea's coasts of Italy in his magnificent vessel. Philippe enjoys himself by humiliating Tom whenever he can and making him feel the power that money brings. Tom envies his friend's easy life and also his pretty girlfriend Marge Duval who sails along with them and finally he kills Philippe and takes his place as a rich man by achieving the sinister and carefully plan he has developed with such purpose. Things get complicated for the killer from then on but he manages to go on with his profitable impersonation and sentimental approach to the dead man's girlfriend.
The film is skilfully handled by director René Clement and interest doesn't fall till the end, the colorful and beautiful Italian coast on the Mediterranean sea brings a great background to the story and the final sequence when Tom's perfect plan is spoiled is excellent and memorable.
Alain Delon renders one of his best performances ever as the resentful and no scruples Tom, well supported by Maurice Ronnet as Philippe and Marie Laforet as Marge. These are the characters the whole plot is about and the rest of the cast is there just for need.
Most entertaining and made with intelligence, this is thriller to see. An 8 out of 10 to me.
Hurricane Smith (1952)
Just Light Entertainment with a dull John Ireland
"Hurricane Smith" is a typical sort of pirates adventure with the classic group against group fight for a buried treasure in an island. Director Jerry Hopper can't count in his credits a good or memorable film and shorlty after this one he turned to television where he seemed to find his right place (he directed episodes of the most remarkable series of the 60's). But big screen adventures where perhaps too much for him.
"Hurricane Smith" is colourful and fast moving -which is good- but such a standard plot needed a more intense and daring direction (the final confrontation between the good and the bad guys in the island is definitely common and lacks strength and impact.
The cast fills the level of the film in general. Ivonne de Carlo is acceptable as Luana and she had an interesting screen presence. It is also amusing to have in the supporting cast such mean regulars as Lyle Bettger and Henry Brandon. On the other hand, John Ireland in the title role doesn't seem a good choice and he hurts the product. Ireland didn't quite make it to stardom because of a sort of common and not too charismatic personality; in fact, he will probably be remembered mostly for his supporting performances in some big budgets as "Spartacus" or "55 Days in Peking" or second villains such as the hoodlum in "Party Girl" or the gunfighter in John Sturges western "Gunfight at OK Corral". But my feeling is that he could not sustain a film as a the lead performer; a more vivacious and sympathetic actor as Hurricane Smith would probably have raised this film a bit (Stewart Granger, Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis or some other back then).
"Hurricane Smith" stands as a just average product in its genre; no more than a 5 out of 10 to me.
The Blob (1958)
A Night in Fear
This sure is an interesting little horror movie in the line of the many that were released in the 50's in the genre.
A sort of a creeping eating-man blob that grows constantly falls from outer-space and menaces the lives of the people of a small community somewhere in the USA. A couple of teenagers (a young Steve McQueen and Aneta Corsaut) konow about the menace but adults don't take them seriously. The whole story takes place through a single night.
McQueen's presence raises this product; though he wasn't a star back then, you could tell he was on his way (he got his real kick right after this one as Vin in the successful "The Nagnificent Seven").
Not very prolific director Irvin S. Yeaworth does it acceptable here with a most simple and prolix handling. Though the special effects that give life to the monster would seem perhaps funny for today's computer standards I remember they worked well for kids like me when I saw "The Blob" when it was released in theatres. A color and an unusual and sticky -for this kind of films- main song also helps the product and its originality
All in all, this is an unpretentious horror/sci-fi movie worth a watch at least and an example of what the genre had to offer back then.
A Good Girl this Salome
Giving it a different focus from what we where taught about hebrew princess Salome, William Dieterle faces this biblical Epic. She is presented here as an innocent victim of his evil mother's wishes.
The film is watchable -just once- if you like the genre and consider it was made in the early 50¨s; but no more than that. There is an abuse of fake decorates that look cheap at times, the script is just standard and the acting performances are uneven.
Charles Laughton gives an interesting performance as Herod, Judith Anderson looks mean enough as his revengeful wife and Stewart Granger fits enough in a dull character as a Christian roman officer. Alan Badel -John the Baptist- is out of line as a sort of a possessed fanatic transmitting more fear than sympathy. Rita Hayworth looks splendid and does acceptably as the princess of the title in a movie planned to serve her beauty (the famous seven vales dance is a highlight and she looks sensual and most attractive there).
A small product in its genre, "Salome" is just a watchable film for its times and no more.
King Kong (2005)
A Cartoon Version of the Giant Gorilla
The all-computer special effects of this version of "King Kong" are really something! I don't know but I think it is too much. The film looks more like a sort of serious cartoon (or something like that) instead of a story with real people; the movements and situarions are so artificial and unnatural.
The lady in distress,the hero and the important people go through everything (long falls, accidents, smashes) and they survive to go on again and again! (just like Tom and Jerry, remember?). The final sequence with the planes looks also unreal and "cartoon-like".
One more; I never forgot the fall of Kong from the top of the Empire States shot from a side and how he hits the building as he goes down in the first version of 1933. In this one the fall is taken from above all the time and inevitably loses impact.
I know; the 1933 version also looked unnatural in the movements of the huge gorilla and monsters; but, man!, it was 1933 and more than 70 years have passed of technological and resources improvement; if you consider that -and there's no way you can not- the old one was better.
It didn't work for me. Disappointing.
The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969)
Pizarro vs Atahualpa
This is a sort of strange epic spectacular film of a time when the genre was not in high demand. The story deals with the conquest of the Inca empire (now Perù) by the Spaniards leaded by Franncisco Pizarro back in the sixteenth century. This is not a movie for everyone to see it and appreciate it -it could seem a bit slow at times- but it stands as a fine and very decent product for those of us who are interested in historical events om Latin America.
"The Royal Hunt of the Sun" can be considered as the delayed complement to Henry King's "Captain from Castile" (1947) referred to the similar conquest of today's Mexico by Hernán Cortés (played accurately by Cèsar Romero). The more than 20 years elapsed between both films shows clearly the different cinematographic techniques of one time and the other; but both products have many similarities in their conception such as the crash between two completely different civilizations each one with their own religious, social and political standards and also the search of gold and riches by both "conquistadores" and their total lack of scruples for the achievement of their target (clearly leaving aside the pretended conversion to Catholicism of the natives that was the excuse of their kings to support the expeditions in a time when the church ruled in Spain).
If not totally accurate with real facts, the Pizarro saga and his confrontation with the god-king Atahualpa in "Royal Hunt" is acceptable scripted and suits enough history and mainly legend.
The atmosphere that not very prolific director Irving Lerner obtains in his film is excellent transiting a sort of a mystical sensation at times and when required; the final sequence when the Incas are waiting for Atahualpa's Sun-father to raise and bring him back to life is outstanding. The location places, settings and a weird music are very good too.
Robert Shaw plays a convincing Pizarro -daring, ambitious and greedy- who after a while shows some kind of respect and even admiration towards a man he can't quite understand. It is true that Cristopher Plummer's performance as Atahualpa is most eccentric as some reviewers state here, but who knows how a God -he and his people were convinced he was one- would behave? I think that Plummer did a very good job with his role here and his truly original acting is one of the highlights of the film.
For those who enjoy historical films with an epic frame this is one to see.
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
Wellman's Look on Own Hand Justice
It is said frequently that psychological or "adult" westerns -less action and more substance in the plots- appeared in the early 50's with films like "The Gunfighter" or "High Noon". However in my opinion, the "Ox-Bow Incident", of 1943, was the first real "adult western (the previous "Stagecoach", though an excellent product in the genre, still maintains the original standards).
Director William Wellman obtains here a fantastic grey and sort of sordid atmosphere to display a story of men taking justice by their own hand and making an unrepairable mistake. The final sequence at the saloon when Henry Fonda reads in a loud voice the letter to his wife left by one of the innocent men hanged is most disturbing but at the same time rewarding for us viewers who get the feeling that justice has been done: the executioners will have to live with their terrible crime in their consciences for the rest of their lives.
Fonda and Andrews are very good in their parts and the supporting cast is excellent mainly with the always accurate Jane Darwell and a young Anthony Quinn.
"The Ox-Bow Incident" stands as a little classic among westerns, or dramas if you prefer.
The Stalking Moon (1968)
A Decent Westen ... or Thriller?
Gregory Peck is an army scout trying to take back with her people a white woman (Eva Marie Saint) that has been rescued from the Apaches that kidnapped her some years before. The point is that she has become a mother while in captivity and the fierce Indian father of the kid (appropiately called Salvaje) goes after them to recover his son no matter what.
The plot is quite simple and yet this is not an ordinary western. It is full of suspense and menace, both very well handled by director Robert Mulligan. Salvaje is never at sight but he is always there as a real and deadly menace. The atmosphere is perfectly achieved and the picture is a thrilling experience all along in spite of a bit of excess in its duration; perhaps a 10 minutes cut might have been better.
Mulligan was a skillful director, not very prolific, but with other fine films in his account such as the excellent "To Kill a Mockingbird" (also with Peck), the enjoyable "Summer of '42" and the fine thriller "The Other" unfairly underrated no doubt.
With "The Stalking Moon" Mulligan tries his hand at westerns and he gets an interesting one that suits the genre's fans and surely thriller's fans too.
Double Indemnity (1944)
The Great Billy Wilder
I can't think of a director that got so many great movies in the different genres as Billy Wilder. In comedy he made the excellent "Some Like It Hot" and "Irma la Douce"; he also made the romantic "Sabrina"; "Sunset Boulevard", "The Apartment" and "The Lost Week-End" were his contributions to drama; "Stalag 17" is a war film; "Witness for the Prosecution" is a great mystery thriller; all memorable products in the history of Hollywood.
With "Double Indemnity" he obtained what is probably the ultimate Film Noir. There's not much to add about this extraordinary movie to what I¨ve red here in other comments. Just that I never was a fan of Fred MacMurray and yet I have to admit he does a very good job in this one (perhaps his best ever along with his treacherous and false navy officer in "The Caine Mutiny").
Billy Wilder was indeed a very talented man as a movie maker and also had an undeniable skill for recognizing a good story when it came his way. One of the great directors ever, no doubt.
See No Evil (1971)
A Good Thriller
The first 45 minutes of "Blind Terror" are excellent and you have the feeling you're watching a great thriller. Director's Richard Fleischer handling of the atmosphere and introduction of the psycho killer just by showing his feet wearing cowboy boots is brilliant.
But then the boots chase a blind Mia Farrow and as she gets away the film sort of looses intensity and impact and becomes sort of slow. It recovers later with the final sequences and revelation of the psycho.
Mia Farrow's performance as the menaced blind victim is excellent.
Although no one could say this is not an entertaining and exciting thriller -mainly fans of the genre-, you get the feeling that it could have been even better if that in-the-middle-sort-of-bump could have been avoided.
All in all, "Blind Terror" is a good thriller worth watching. A 7 (out of 10) for me.
The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)
The Film That Shouldn't Have Been Made
This film was really bad whether you take it as a sci-fi movie, as a horror one or even as a comedy. The whole thing is ridiculous.
The film looks (and is) definitely cheap, the actors have no idea of what acting is and the script shows clearly that it was being made along with the shooting. It is obvious that the monster in the closet was added because the living head was not scary at all -she was even pretty- and they thought they needed something more impressive; they failed here too (the make up is awful even for the late 50's, rather funny).
The film shows clearly why Director Joseph Green's career as such and also as a writer never materialized; he was really bad at both. Same goes to the actors, leading and supporting.
"The Brain That Wouldn't Die"'s best achievement is its short running time.
No Way to Treat a Lady (1968)
Entertaining and Most Watchable Thriller
I've seen lots of films dealing with psychos and serial killers, some excellent and others good, average or really bad. In my opinion, "No Way to Treat a Lady" is among the good ones and deserves more attention in the genre than that given to it.
A "plus" of the film is that you know right from the start, or almost, who the insane murderer is and yet it keeps interest and tension all the way to the end. Rod Steiger has much to do with it in a character rich in ingredients and different focuses in which he is excellent. The "obsession with dead dominating mom" is there too and has to do with the "signature" the killer leaves behind after each death and puts him in trouble at the end.
Pretty and talented Lee Remick is the main menaced damsel and George Segal plays the detective in charge of the case (yes, they get romantically involved in spite of the man's Jewish mother, a perfect -as usual- Eileen Heckart).
If you enjoy thrillers this is an unpretentious one to see. Not a classic or even a great one, but a good one in the genre.
Nefertite, regina del Nilo (1961)
Italian Historical Epic
This is an unpretentious Italian Historical Epic film based on the figure of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti. The story is acceptable -don't look for historical accuracy- and deals with the romance of the queen to be with a poor sculptor and the dilemma she has to face when forced to choose between her love or duty. Locations, settings, colour and gowns are acceptable too.
Italians were fully dedicated to this kind of "B" epic productions in the early 60's and they often hired well known American or British performers -usually after their best years- in order to raise the level of these films and make them more suitable for international markets (Orson Welles, Broderick Crawford, Victor Mature and Basil Rathbone were among them).
Jeanne Crain was always a just correct actress, but she looks beautiful here as Nefertiti and you prefer to feast your eyes on her than to analyze her performance. Vincent Price -just before his deservedly successful association with Roger Corman in Poe's based horror stories- plays without effort a villainous high priest. The love interest of the queen is Edmund Purdom in his usual dull and wooden acting; I can't recall another actor that was given so many chances to reach stardom with -if not great- rather expensive products and failed ("The Egyptian", "The Prodigal", "The King's Thief" or later "The Yellow Rolls Royce"). He ended up in "B" European films and no more than that.
All in all, this is a movie to see if you like historical Epics but it surely won't make history in the genre.
I went across this film on TV and watched it mainly because I had enjoyed a lot the first "The Dick van Dyke Show" and everybody but the main couple was there. In my opinion they didn't think of anything at all here, not just the title.
The conclusion could be that the cast was comfortable on television but the big screen was too big for them. Director Harmon Jones started making some average or below average pictures but ended up filming episodes of different series of the little screen; this was probably his right place. Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam don't reach at all their funny performances with van Dyke and several cameo appearances by well known comedians don't help either.
Can't recall a single smile with this one.
What a Weird Little Movie
This sure is a weird little horror film. In fact, there are not many real highlights -perhaps none- I can find in it in terms of the issues that make a movie (budget, direction, script, camera work, photo, colour, locations, settings, edition, music, cast ...). However, every time I catch it on TV -always by chance- I get hooked up and can't help watching it till the very end. I really couldn't say why.
This unpretentious not scary horror film, sort of silly too, has a strange fascination on me. Roddy McDowall's preserved dead mother on a chair is not original ("Psycho" was first and better by far); the Golem is no big deal as a monster and doesn't even look menacing enough; no frightening situations really; McDowall has done many better jobs in his career and though Jill Haworth is a beautiful woman no doubt she is not quite my type. In fact the only interesting sequence I can rescue out of "It!" is when the stone arms of the Golem appear in different positions between shots at the museum in front of an amazed Arthur Pimm (Mc Dowall).
A great film? not at all; a good film? not in my opinion; a watchable one? I wouldn't say that either. Yet I don't know why I am interested, perhaps because I find it sort of original and really odd. Who knows?
El Dorado (1967)
Hawks Improvement of "Rio Bravo"
Against most opinions when I commented Horad Hawk's previous "Rio Bravo" I said the director probably realized he had spoiled that film with some major flaws, mainly the final shooting contest by sheriff Chance and his sidekicks hitting dynamite bars on the ground and in the air at 100 feet away or even more; a sort of "spaghetti western" sequence. I think Hawks felt he was in debt with viewers and so he made "El Dorado", practically a remake of "Rio Bravo".
I wouldn't say he got a classic here but this is a better film than "Rio Bravo" with more credible situations that make it a more serious western.
John Wayne is John Wayne again, but Dean Martin turns into Robert Mitchum, Ricky Nelson into James Caan (thank God!), Angie Dickinson into Charlene Holt, Walter Brennan into Arthur Hannicutt and Claude Akins and John Russaell into Cristopher George and Edward Ashner.
Never understood the passion of western fans for "Rio Bravo" -in spite of its good atmosphere and excellent music-, but in my opinion "El Dorado" is a better product and an acceptable film in the genre.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
One of Hammer's Little Classics
"The Curse of Frankenstein" is most entertaining version based very freely on Mary Shelley's classic story.
Terence Fisher makes another fine job here in the direction for Hammer films with the classical monsters of Universal as he did also with "The Mummy" and "Horror of Dracula". A real well done horror trilogy in my opinion.
The atmosphere is perfectly sordid, sinister and adequate as usual in Fisher and his also usually simple but efective and prolix direction turns this film into a most enjoyable one for fans of the genre. The settings are also a highlight in some sort of Gothic type.
Hammer's top stars for the genre are here too. Peter Cushing shows his professionalism and acting class as the crazy Baron and Christopher Lee under heavy make up as the creature -more than acceptable for 1957- moves to pity at times but also to menace and horror with similar effectiveness. The rest of the cast is an interesting support, mainly Valerie Gaunt as Cushing's maid that doesn't know when she has pressed too much.
Though perhaps a bit aged for today's standards "The Curse of Frankenstein" has not lost its charm as a little classic in the horror genre, even more if you consider it was made 50 years ago.
Acceptable Version of Stoker's Classic Character
I must say that in my opinion this version of "Dracula" by John Badham lacks the sort of charm, color and movement that has Terence Fisher's "Horror of Dracula" (1958) released by Hammer 20 years earlier with Cristopher Lee as the Count and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing.
Nevertheless, this is a watchable version that fans of the genre (or of the Prince of Darkness) will find entertaining. A sort of Gothic atmosphere, good settings, acceptable special effects and an interesting cast help this product.
Frank Langella makes an interesting Dracula, charming and polite, but he doesn't match Lee's sinister and menacing side as in the other movie. The rest of the cast is very good mainly the great Lawrence Olivier (in one of his last works) and the always reliable Donald Pleasence. As for Kate Nelligan, she never reached his fine performance as the unfaithful wife of a crippled man in the interesting thriller "The Eye of the Needle".
A most watchable version of Bram Stoker's book though, in my opinion, inferior to Hammer's 1958 picture about the Count. That aside, I must say I prefer this version to the more recent and expensive film with Gary Oldman, too long and complex for a simple horror story where the main feature is an undead human vampire thirsty of the blood of his living equals.
No Big Deal, Just One More
This is just one more film about a bunch of youngsters chased by a psycho killer in the line that Brian de Palma started with his interesting "Halloween" and was followed by other titles such us "Prom Night", "Scream", "Urban Legend", the recent "Wax Museum" with the can't-act-at-all Paris Hilton and many others (sequels included).
The point with those titles -"Halloween" aside in which terror comes other way- is that, at least, the murderer was someone related one way or another with the victims; that is the killer was one of them so you could entertain yourself wondering who and why (this not meaning that they were great movies). But "I Saw What You did Last Summer" doesn't even has that; the psycho is somebody we don't know or better someone who saw the kids do what they did and comes for them, but there's no surprise on who he turns out to be or why he kills them. He could have been anyone and for any reason.
The only acceptable performance comes from Anne Heche in a not very demanding secondary role. The rest of the acting, Jennifer Love Hewitt included, is really poor. Some acceptable killing sequences don't raise the product that stands as a totally average and standard one, just watchable for fans of the genre and no mmore than a copuple of times.
A Very Good Film in its Genre
I have to admit that I don't know much about William Wallace the Scottish hero that fought against England's ruling in his country back in the 13th century. So I have to take this film as an epic one based on true facts I don't know much about.
On that line, I think Mel Gibson obtains a very good product in the epic spectacular genre that reminds us over 50 of those classics of the 50's and early 60's such as "Spartacus", "Ben Hur" or "El Cid", among others.
Gibson gives his character a great sense of heroism and his film an undeniable sense of greatness. The script is well done and sustains interest all along the extended duration of the film. The action sequences and massive battles are perfectly achieved too. The musical score fits accordingly.
If not perfect technically speaking Gibson's performance as Wallace is strong and convincing. Patrick McGoohan is perfect as the mean King Eduard I and Sophie Marceau does well also as the future queen of England that gets mixed up with Gibson. No complaints on the rest of the cast either.
"Braveheart" is a fine piece of cinema, all spectacle and color, perhaps one of the best made in its genre.
The Great Escape (1963)
Very Good Entertaining but Not the Best Ever
This a very good film about the massive escape from a German concentration camp by prisoner allied officers during World War II. No doubt about it. John Surges was indeed and intelligent director whose best products where in the western genre ("Gunfight at the OK Corral", "The Magnificent Seven")in my opinion. No doubt also that "The Great Escape" reaches the rank of an epic spectacular film and is enjoyable and entertaining. Efficient actors also and a great musical score.
However, and as for me, it is perhaps the fact that the story is based on real happenings that sort of limited the script and Sturges usual daring in doing movies; it seems as if the director sort of self control himself in order to go along with the real facts and show the in the most accurate way. In such terms, the film turns out as sort of standard and lacks real impact in all.
Don't get me wrong; this is a very good movie no doubt, interesting, entertaining and tense. But I think the focus on the true story and how things really happened gives it a sort of colourful documentary sense that demerits a bit what you expect from a war film of its undenieble level.