Both image and audio are superb. 4 Stars

John Sturges’ The Great Escape was a July 4th gift to cinema-lovers.

Based upon actual events, as lived by the author of the source book, Paul Brickhill, it’s one of the finest, most stirring, and patriotic films concerning World War II.

It was filmed in Germany, in 1962, by cinematographer Daniel Fapp, whose career goes back to the silent era, and includes West Side Story.

A great plot, a decent cast (Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, David McCallum, Gordon Jackson), and a reasonably memorable score by Elmer Bernstein round out the main attractions.

For those who’ve not experienced the film, Criterion’s new Blu-ray is a wonderful way to get acquainted.

As to interesting factoids, legend has it, that Mr. McQueen had two roles in the film. In some sort of motorcycle chase sequence, it’s said that he plays both his own role, as well as that of the German chasing him.

Per Criterion’s notes, the image scan was harvested from both the OCN, as well as an IP.

Both image and audio are superb.

The track is surprisingly good in re-made stereo. The original 4-track is said to be lost. The new tracks are from dx, combined with a stereo M & E.

Image – 5

Audio – 5 (original monaural, re-made 5.1)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from previous Blu-ray – yes

Very Highly Recommended


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Published by

Robert Harris


It's funny how MGM/UA has been supposedly in dire financial straits for years and years and years, yet they still have the wherewithal to produce high-quality work such as this, yet supposedly more financially stable studios such as Paramount are all over the place with their back catalog titles.
I remember my father dragging me to see both this and The Longest Day as a child- but I preferred Mary Poppins and My Fair Lady! Who knew?!
Thanks for the great review, how exciting. So does the remade stereo actually have actual separation of music and sound effects? Could you please tell me what you mean by "The new tracks are from dx, combined with a stereo M & E". Very sad the original stereo has been lost. I have heard this is true for many United Artists titles.
What a great time to be going to movies. How lucky people were back then who loved commercial filmmaking. And they had those theaters to see them in. How I would have loved to have seen this at the DeMille.