Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Stalag 17 |
Special Collector's Edition
Actors: William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
Director: Billy Wilder
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Drama, Military & War
Two worthy Academy AwardŽ nominees from 1950's Sunset Boulevard ? actor William Holden and director Billy Wilder ? reteamed three years later for the gripping World War II drama, Stalag 17. The result was another Best Dire... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Evelyn Y. from ABILENE, TX
Reviewed on 1/2/2016...
Great movie! The story will be familiar if you have ever watched Hogan's Heroes, but, while it has some comic relief, it is gritty and realistic. If you find a copy, KEEP IT and show it to your kids, so they know what war is like.
William Holden's finest performance......
P. Ferrigno | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 11/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Quite easily a front runner for the title of best POW movie ever made, "Stalag 17" is expertly directed by Billy Wilder to provide humour, drama, satire and sadness....and William Holden in his Oscar winning performance as the cynical POW sergeant, Sefton, makes this movie a class act from start to finish !
American POW's under the watchful eye of camp commander Von Scherbach (Otto Preminger at his sinister best) are suspicious of a traitor in their ranks...escape plans are going horribly wrong...lives are being lost....and the finger of guilt point's to the crafty, opportunistic Sefton. William Holden was well deserving of the 1953 Best Actor Oscar as the somewhat unlikeable and moody Sefton. Taking advantage of his fellow POW's and filling his footlocker with contrband purchased from the income off his "racetrack", "moonshine" and "telescope" rackets, Sefton then suddenly finding himself the victim of circumstance and his own cynical nature. Holden took on a particularly difficult role, as Sefton is definitely not what you would call a likeable character...only looking out for his own welfare, negative of his fellow prisoners escape attempts and eager to pick up an extra dollar any way he can from other prisoners. The character of Sergeant Sefton is arguably one of the first anti-hero's of film drama. Fine support is provided in the film by the hilarious comic talents of Robert Strauss & Harvey Lembeck (Animal & Harry Shapiro)...just love that dreamy Betty Grable dance sequence...plus the fine character actor, Sig Ruman is very funny as chess playing German guard, Schulz.
A quite youthful Peter Graves plays security officer "Price", Gil Stratton narrates the tale as the meek "Cookie"...Sefton's trusty sidekick.....and actors Richard Erdman & Neville Brand are solid as "Hoffy" & "Duke", the two leaders of the POW barracks.
"Stalag 17" is thoroughly enjoyable on so many levels due to the fine balance of performances between the cast members and the equilibrium between tension and humour that Wilder maintains throughout this memorable movie....
I've noticed some reviewers have called this film a "time passer" or that it is "nothing spectacular"...are they sure we are discussing the same movie ??? "Stalag 17" is top class entertainment and it's release on DVD (albeit without any extra features) is long overdue and well received.
A high calibre production that deserves a place in any true film fans movie collection !"
Great POW story
Brian Petersen | Lockwood, CA United States | 01/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not your typical WWII war movie. Great acting by William Holden. He won the Oscar for best actor. Robert Strauss and Harry Lembeck are blazingly funny as 2 other POW's along with Holden. The movie is set in a German prison camp during WWII a week before Christmas. Holden is suspected of being a nazi spy living with the POW's. He's not, but he's going to find out who is. The other prisoner's have already beaten him and and taken some of his possessions. Definitely the best POW movie ever. The DVD has no "special" features such as behind the scenes or information about the cast. It does have scene selection, Dolby Digital, and English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impared. This DVD is the "Standard version" aspect ratio. The movie came out in 1953 when the movie studios were going to "Widescreen" but I think it was shot before they adapted. So this DVD is basically how it looked in the theatre. The transfer to DVD is great. It looks as if they restored it some. This is definitely one for your DVD collection."
A Memorable Comedy-Drama Comes To DVD
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 10/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although the play by Edmund Trzcinski and Donald Bevan had been a smash hit on Broadway, most insiders did not expect STALAG 17 to succeed as a film. The story concerned WWII American POWs held in a Nazi camp--but it combined serious drama with broad farce and offered one of the first anti-heroes in American film in the leading role. And with the war still very fresh in every one's mind, the combination seemed more likely to offend than appeal. Every one concerned held their breath when the film debuted: would audiences get it? They did indeed, and STALAG 17 became one of the most critically-lauded and commercially popular films of the early 1950s, picking up an Academy Award nomination for director Billy Wilder and a Best Actor Oscar for William Holden in the process.The story concerns American prisoners of war held in the German "Stalag 17" in 1944, and it begins grimly: after much planning, the Americans have devised an escape for two of their number, but the next morning the bullet-riddled bodies of the two men are dragged into camp and dumped in the mud. But the escape plan should have worked. It was perfect. How did the Germans know? Suspicion begins to settle on J.J. Sefton (Holden), a bitter cynic and hardbitten opportunist who spends his time running various scams designed to strip his fellow prisoners of what little they have.While this might have worked as drama pure and simple, the film counterbalances its darkness with streaks of a sort of "boys will be boys" broad farce played out in the most over-the-top way imaginable. And strange to say, even given the overplaying typical of the early 1950s, the balance works: for every dramatic twist there is a stroke of comedy, and for every stroke of comedy there is a dramatic twist. In Wilder's hands the ensemble cast, which includes the likes of Otto Preminger and Peter Graves, performs some of the most remarkable juggling of the decade. But the glue here is William Holden. Interestingly, according to most sources Holden hated the play and hated the character and did the project under duress. Whatever the case, he gives a truly remarkable performance: Sefton is not a likable man by any stretch of the imagination, but even so he has certain self-integrity that you cannot help but admire. While Holden is now probably best remembered for his performances in SUNSET BLVD and NETWORK, his work here is likely the finest of his entire career.There has been some complaint that STALAG 17 is disrespectful to WWII prisoners of war, for it paints their Nazi captors as buffoons and camp conditions as not so much horrific as merely unpleasant--and it is true that the film makes no serious portray the extreme difficulties most POWs encountered. But to say that it is disrespectful to POWs is akin to saying that 42nd STREET is disrespectful to chorus girls: we know, just as 1953 audiences knew, that this is not an attempt to portray reality; it is instead a story told via our willing suspension of disbelief--and a very entertaining story it is indeed.The DVD is truly a "no frills" product, but the print is crisp. And if you are expecting a realistic examination of men at war you may be disappointed. But still, this is a memorable film, directed with great skill, performed by an exceptional cast, and with a sharp story and clever script. It bears repeat viewing extremely well--which is a great deal more than one can say for most films made. Recommended.--GFT (Amazon Reviewer)--"