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