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.
Imprisoned Harry Lomart is a vicious, brute of a man and yet he is prepared to do his long jail term as he is confident that on his release his beautiful wife Pat will be waiting for him, but a visit from Pat brings him his worst nightmare.
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
During production, a stunt driver careered into a group of German tourists, injuring a 19 year old boy who had to be hospitalised. Michael Winner responded to the incident, "That's one back for the six million". See more »
[Wanting to improve his English, and not realizing that the word is the same in German and English]
How do you say "elephant"?
Stephen 'Hannibal' Brooks:
[Not hearing the question, but instead commenting that they have arrived]
We are here.
Ah, the "Ve are here".
[This starts the running joke of Bernard referring to the elephant as "the ve are here"]
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Yes, a little different, but it's a terrific movie.
You've already read the plot, where an English POW risks his life to conduct a bombed-out zoo elephant, Lisa, from Germany to a safe haven in Switzerland during World War II. Despite the doubts that plot line might suggest, this is a great movie that held my attention the whole way through. An excellent cast gives life to a wide range of characters; and you really do come to understand their actions and care about them.
Oliver Reed, as "Hannibal" Brooks, brings a light touch and a wry sense of humor to this role that blends both comedy and drama. It pays to listen closely to the by-play between Brooks and his fellow POWs and the zoo staff, and German soldiers he encounters - there's some really funny stuff here. However, as a war film, it's not all comedy - there are fighting sequences and the film includes some spectacular explosions and pyrotechnics.
One thing I liked about the movie is that it portrays the decency of common people; the ordinary people they met along the way who took time to be caring and kind -- in contrast to the horrors of war all around them.
Michael J. Pollard, as Packy, an American POW who has ambitions of military glory, is kind of strange. But, then Michael J. Pollard is always strange, so I guess that's what they wanted for his role. I would have preferred to see it played "straight", but I think the strangeness works in this movie anyway.
This is a very enjoyable movie - I hope it gets wider distribution on video/DVD so that more people can enjoy it.
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