Title: The Great Escape Director: John Sturges Year: 1963 Run time: 2hrs 52m
“Steve McQueen jumps on his motorcycle and leads the way in this thrill-packed adventure that bless top stars, a true-life WWII saga and Hollywood’s gift for storytelling into a bravura, blockbuster film.”
2:23 - “Time and place have been compressed” I like that honesty. 5:36 - That top bunk doesn’t have much headspace. I’d get frequent bumps on the head up there. 16:19 - I love that they’ve only just arrived and are already trying desperate measures to escape. 31:19 - “Personal revenge must be kept out of what we’re trying to do here.” 31:34 - Big X isn’t quite the awesome nickname he thinks it is. 37:39 - Birdwatching is almost worthwhile if you’re going to draw them as well. 44:13 - You need a lot of patience to dig a tunnel like that. 53:23 - I’m worried their soil distribution method would end up in my socks. 1:02:43 - Whistling like birds is impressive, but bird song isn’t my favourite. 1:06:40 - McQueen spends so long in the cooler, I keep forgetting he’s in it. 1:21:14 - This is their Independence Day! Always bugs me that he stops playing the pipe before the piping noise stops. 1:23:21 - “Don’t smoke right after you drink it.” 1:31:43 - There’s a McQueen shaped hole in that fence. 1:39:37 - Claustrophobic tunnel digger. 1:42:45 - The Now Show has totally ruined this Colin storyline for me! 1:48:59 - If you’d been to Blackpool, I think you’d remember. 1:55:40 - His white trousers aren’t the best camouflage. 2:12:12 - Did they plan all these different exits, including the boat? 2:24:06 - Say what you want about the Gestapo, but they do a good line in bunkers. 2:40:26 - “Arms… up!”
I love this film, have done for a long time. It’s taken this long to film watch it because, seriously, it’s so lengthy! We actually had to watch it in two halves, but nevertheless, we got through it!
I love it for the disparate characters coming together for the common goal. The way the Scrounger can get what he needs, and how they manage to find wood from every little place. The way they cover up their activities, the way they have highs and lows, and sometimes the lows are just too much.
I had forgotten that Steve McQueen isn’t actually in it that much, spending all his time as he does in the cooler. And watching it back this time, I did feel that some of the post-escape stuff could have been left out for brevity’s sake. But I’ll 100% take it as it is and love it and watch it over and over (in two parts).