Monday, 24 March 2014

70 Years Ago..., since the break-out from Stalag Luft III. The Great Escape is a dramatised, Hollywoodised version of events. The truth of WWII break-out attempts is incredible. The ingenuity was mind-boggling.

The Great Escape is often wrongly remembered (by me at least) and depicted in UK TV skits as a feelgood movie of the 'good guys' winning the day. The poster, above, even calls it a great adventure - making it sound like a mountain biking holiday in Moab. Regarding the actual break-out, in 1944, of the 76 who escaped only three were successful - two Norweigians and a Dutch airman. Of the recaptured allies, 50 were executed on Hitler's orders (a war crime, as they were killed not during the escape, but when recaptured).

Apparently, a great deal of McQueen's Virgil Hilts character was based on the US Pilot David M Jones, who was on the Escape Committee and worked on the tunnels and planning, but didn't go through the tunnels and subsequently survived the war, went on to be a Jet Age test pilot and work for NASA. G

UPDATE: Coincidentally, Steve McQueen was also born on this day, in 1930. He died in 1980. If he were still alive, he'd be two years younger than Bruce Forsyth.


WhitelinePsycho said...

Nice stuff G, still, a killer flick every time it comes up. RIP McQueen.

Sideburn Magazine said...

Magic cinema. What also makes it, is all the long nervous pauses of McQ, the hunted fox, as he considers his options.

Apparently, as there were not sufficient mc stunt riders on set, McQ was also filmed as one of the persuing German soldiers, so effectively chasing himself!


Nick said...

Bud Ekins did the actual jump that's in the film, Like he also did the car chase in Bullet, wearing a blond wig

WhitelinePsycho said...

McQueen also laid out the scene and the 'choreography' of how things would go, and apparently it was all quite spontaneous and not part of the original script/plot . . . what's not to love about the guy ??