The Great Escape (1963)

(On VHS, November 2000) Allied prisoners-of-war try to escape a high-security Nazi camp. Ingredient for a classic? Absolutely! A totally satisfying film experience? Not quite. If the first two-third of the film are a fascinating parade of clever ways to escape the camp, the film is dragged down by a depressing last third, in which the logical conclusion of the great escape (it ain’t a spoiler, it’s the title!) are played out. But don’t interpret that as an excuse not to rush out and grab the copy at your nearest video store: The Great Escape withstands the test of time quite well, with its top-notch technical credits, all-around great performances (Steve McQueen!) and nifty script.

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