Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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An action classic that runs a bit too long.
Steve McQueen and James Garner are sensational in this film! The movie does develop rather slowly in the beginning, but it never bores. Once things speed up, there are a number of utterly iconic scenes that captivate you regardless of how many times you've them.
Bernstein's opening score is one of the best. The film is funny and dramatic and perfect family entertainment.
This is a long one. The first hour or so, when the boys are in the German prisoner of war camp, obviously inspired "Hogan's Heroes," which premiered two years later.
Among the prisoners is Steve McQueen, as a brash American who has tried to escape 17 times already. Other Americans appear in this wholly British tale: the always reliable James Garner, Charles Bronson – and one with a questionable accent (I'm looking at you, James Coburn).
While the first part goes on too long - though it does provide some much-needed levity - it is the last hour of the film that is a masterfully sustained piece of action and tension as the various escapees struggle for freedom via train, bicycle, motorbike, row boat and even hitchhiking. Director John Sturges inter-cuts between their respective attempts and leads us to the inevitable tragedy of this based-on-real-life chapter of British WWII history.
I liked it well enough. Didn't love.
I know this is considered a classic, and it has a superb cast with the iconic theme and all but once again the length of this movie was way too long for my liking. I don't know if it's because we live in an era where short attention spans are a real issue and most movies tend to be just under 2 hours. This was closer to 3 hours and the story told here could have been done in half the amount of time shown here, or heck 2 hours even. It's not a horrible movie, it does get boring often which makes the 3 hours seem even longer. Meh, and after all that whole "great escape" only 1 of them made it out. Oh, spoiler alert hah
The cast is great but the films is very slow and unfortunately way too long as well. (5/10)
Thoroughly entertaining down to the last minute.
John Sturges' war epic The Great Escape (1963) is a massive endeavor of hundreds of extras pretending to be prisoners of war in a German POW camp during World War II. It's surprisingly funny as every man is working to escape for the entirety of the film. It's an escalating caper of rising tension and brutal suspense with constant casual humor for levity despite the dark subject matter.
Sturges lets you feel like a POW stuck in a German camp going mad, while he also emphasizes the bravery and teamwork of the inmates. Sturges keeps you engaged and laughing for all 173 minutes until the poignant finale. Ferris Webster's editing is very light and allows you to enjoy each scene without many cuts.
W.R. Burnett, James Clavell, and Paul Brickhill's script is very engaging as they meticulously describe what daily life is like in POW camps and how these soldiers attempt numerous escape plans. You understand how monotonous imprisonment is and how inventive these men were to outsmart the wretched Nazis holding them throughout WWII. Daniel L. Fapp's cinematography has some very creative wide shots of the camp and all his close-ups of the escape tunnels are very neat.
Elmer Bernstein's legendary score is instantly recognizable with that iconic whistling melody. He has a lot of variety throughout The Great Escape with all kinds of more subtle songs for sneaking around or giving chase depending on the action he is accompanying.
Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Sir Richard Attenborough are excellent, hilarious, and cool as these heroes. But it is Charles Bronson's sensitive character that steals the show. Bronson displays his war hero as vulnerable with a fear of the dark and claustrophobia. His frightened whimpers during the blackout in the tunnel and the tunnel collapse while digging are the most tense sequences in The Great Escape.
It's a brilliant film with a great cast.
The Great Escape is a cinematic achievement that has unfortunately fallen out of the public eye.
Does this movie get better every time it's watched? No, but it never loses one iota of its craftsmanship or entertainment value. First rate throughout: screenplay, dialogue, direction, cinematography, performances, editing, costuming—on and on, with always something new to see or discover on each new watch.
While The Great Escape may receive completely justified criticism for its rather loose interpretation of WWII and the roles of its combatants, viewing the film as a well-composed adventure narrative places it firmly among the best of its genre. (4.5/5)