Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stalag 17 (1953)

This post was originally published as part of the DVD of the Day series at Superfriends Universe on July 20, 2010.





Stalag 17

There are two people in this barracks who know I didn’t do it. Me and the guy that did do it.

The Stats

The Director:  Billy Wilder
The Cast:  William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
The Release Date: 1953
The Runtime: 120 Minutes

The Plot

Stuck in a Nazi prison camp, a band of American prisoners of war are constantly trying to escape.  Somehow, their escape attempts are always discovered, leading everyone to believe there’s an informer in their barracks.

The Lowdown

So far in the DVD of the Day, I’ve provided you with some pretty sweet action movies.  Well, this is not an action movie… or at least not until the last few minutes, anyway.

Let’s face facts.  We’re all men here, right?  Well, as men, it’s genetically encoded in our DNA to love movies about World War II.  And while this film isn’t about the actual fighting of the war, it’s still a pretty bad ass movie.

You’ve got a group of American prisoners, captured and being held by evil Nazi scumbags.  They’re POW’s and they’re always trying to escape.  Except after some of their boys get killed in an escape attempt, it leads the remaining soldiers to question if they’ve got an informer in their midst.  Cue:  William Holden (who some of you may remember from ass-kicking The Wild Bunch.)  Holden’s character, Sefton, is a dude that’s constantly trading prison currency (cigarettes, etc.) to become the prison equivalent of Donald Trump.  Sefton is always looking out for himself, even if it means bribing a Nazi guard or two to get his way.

Naturally, the others don’t like Sefton, and finger him as the snitch.  But is he?  The whole movie is based on Sefton’s fellow inmates trying to kick his ass, all the while Sefton is trying to find the true undercover man.

This whole film is suspenseful, and hell, it’s funny too.  I’d almost consider it a great comedy, if it wasn’t also a great prison escape movie.  If you like movies like The Shawshank Redemption and The Great Escape, you gotta watch Stalag 17.  The performances, the suspense and the comedy make it a must-see movie.