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The Wooden Horse (1950)

True story of three British POWs and their attempt to escape from Nazi Germany.

Directors:

Jack Lee, Ian Dalrymple (uncredited)

Writer:

Eric Williams (screenplay adapted from his novel by)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leo Genn ... Peter Howard
David Tomlinson ... Phil Roe
Anthony Steel ... John Clinton
David Greene ... Nick Bennett
Peter Burton ... Nigel
Patrick Waddington ... Group Captain Wardley - Senior British Officer
Michael Goodliffe ... Robbie
Anthony Dawson ... Pomfret
Bryan Forbes ... Paul
Dan Cunningham Dan Cunningham ... David
Peter Finch ... Australian in Hospital
Philip Dale Philip Dale ... Bill White
Russell Waters Russell Waters ... 'Wings' Cameron
Ralph Ward Ralph Ward ... Adjutant
Franz Schafheitlin Franz Schafheitlin ... Camp Commandant
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Storyline

In a POW camp, the Nazis have placed the huts far from the boundary so that any escape tunnel would have to be a long one. One British officer has the idea of starting a daily gynmastics routine using a vaulting horse: they can place it near the boundary and start a tunnel from under it. He and two others do escape the camp by this means and plan to make for neutral Sweden. To do that, they'll not only have to move around without arousing any suspicions, but also find a stranger from a neutral or occupied country who'll be willing and able to help them. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Charged with high voltage excitement !

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Danish | French

Release Date:

16 October 1950 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Calul de lemn See more »

Filming Locations:

Denmark See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real names of the actual escapees are Eric Williams (Howard), Michael Codner (Clinton) and Oliver Philpot (Rowe) See more »

Goofs

Whilst the escape is in progress, there is a quick shot of a German guard near the compound fence. His rifle has a British pattern webbing sling; the upper brass buckle can be seen clearly. See more »

Quotes

[Doctor, visiting prisoners in hospital, hears they are listening to music by Beethoven]
Doctor: Ah, Beethoven. He is a good German.
Prisoner: [calls out from the background] Yes. He's dead.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hotel! (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Deutschlandlied
(uncredited)
Composed by Franz Joseph Haydn
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Crisp, no nonsense telling of a well planned escape using a new version of "The Trojan Horse"...
16 April 2011 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

The British stiff upper lip way of filming POW escape movies is evident here, since this is a low-key telling of how three men escaped from a German prison camp right in front of their captors by using the age-old device of a Trojan Horse in the guise of gym equipment.

LEO GENN, ANTHONY STEEL and David TOMLINSON are the men who conspire to use a vaulting mechanism as a means of escape. The first part of the film deals with the tension that mounts as the escape is prepared by tunneling to the escape point far from the men's barracks. The second half of the story follows their escape route as they hide from German authorities in order to escape to Denmark and then to safety in Sweden.

All of it is told in crisp, no frills fashion and in the very understated British style of filmmaking, vastly different from the way the subject matter would have been treated in an American film. Particularly impressive are the sequences where Genn and Steel must rely on their own wit and abilities to deceive the enemy after their escape from camp.

Tension mounts toward a satisfying ending. All told, an excellent British film that tells a true story without a lot of false bravado.


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