Little known WWII drama
J. Stridiron | 04/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Colditz is an actual Prisnor of War camp that existed during WWII. This story centers on a group of men who are determined to escape at all costs. Some are successful and this is the story of these men. Their loves are documented and the terrible betrayal of one to another outside the walls of the prison is unimaginable. I was almost sorry to see the 2 part mini series end as the acting and plot keet us in suspense for the entire time."
Wartime drama makes traditional British values a casualty .
trebe | 03/16/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"During World War II, Colditz, an elevated castle near Leipzig, Germany, was converted to a high security prison for Allied prisoners with a propensity for escaping. With specialists in evasion and escape gathered together, Colditz was usually abuzz with those planning and preparing to escape. Colditz (2005), is a World War II miniseries for Granada British TV, centered around the activities of Allied officers held captive in the formidable castle. Based in part on the book Colditz: The Untold Story of World War II's Great Escapes (2001), by Henry Chancellor, this production uses some elements from history, to construct a background, and then interjects a rather sordid tale of betrayal, deceit, murder, and treason.
Captain Tom Willis (Laurence Fox), Lieutenant Jack Rose (Tom Hardy), and Corporal Nicholas McGrade (Damian Lewis), British escapees from a German POW camp, are trying to reach safety in neutral Switzerland. Willis and Rose are caught attempting to cross the border, but McGrade escapes to Switzerland. Before separating, Jack asks Nick to deliver a message to his girl, Lizzie Carter (Sophia Myles). Willis and Rose are sent to Colditz, while McGrade earns the distinction of being the first British POW to successfully escape from Germany. Promoted to lieutenant, he is assigned to `M.I.9' a (fictitious) division of Britain's secret service, working in London in a section specializing in POW affairs.
Aided by Canadian flying officer Rhett Barker (Jason Priestly), Willis and Rose immediately attempt to escape from Colditz, crawling into the drainage system. It is a tight claustrophobic journey, where you can almost feel the cold wet walls, pressing in. Their failure, earns them their first of many stays in solitary confinement. When released, Jack gets Captain Edward Sawyer (Guy Henry), an artist, to draw a small portrait of Lizzie.
Keeping his promise, McGrade meets with Lizzie, but things get complicated, when he begins to take an interest in Lizzie, who remains loyal to Jack. Matters take a very dark turn, when McGrade falsifies a report stating that Rose has been killed while trying to escape. Taking advantage of a heartbroken Lizzie, Nick begins to cultivate a romance.
Captain Sawyer becomes the second to escape from Colditz and reach England. He too is assigned to M.I.9, and becomes suspicious, upon discovering that Rose's girl, has taken up with Lt. McGrade. Sawyer soon puts the pieces together, and sends a letter to Rose, explaining the situation. Upon learning the truth, Rose makes an unauthorized escape (screwing his friend Willis), looking to settle up with naughty Nicky McGrade.
Colditz, does a decent job of capturing some of the favor of the war, including the blitz( bombing) of London, conditions in Colditz, and the unique spirit of those dedicated to proposition of escape. While doubtless dramatized, there is some accuracy in the methods and means employed to escape. Even the most successful film in the genre, The Great Escape (1963), embellished the truth for entertainment purposes. While you can't fault the writers for adding some drama, making McGrade an opportunist, who transforms into the worst kind of scheming lowlife, is very questionable. McGrade completely dishonors the tradition of the British Army, soiling the memory of those who sacrificed much for their country. Adding further dishonor, the story also features drug abuse, betrayal, treason, and number of questionable deaths.
During the Battle of Britain, England stood alone against the forces of Germany, with the Luftwaffe attacking by day, and bombers striking at night, in an attempt to bring the country to its knees. Winston Churchill spoke of the country's resolve to persevere in these very grim times, when he said, ". . . we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender." This indomitable spirit, is what the British are renown for. Former British POW's like Paul Brickhill (The Great Escape), Patrick Reid (The Colditz Story), and Eric Williams (The Wooden Horse), all wrote books (that later became movies) expressing this same quiet determination. That a British company produced this miniseries, is a quite remarkable statement of how much times have changed.
Because few today are familiar with the actual events at Colditz, the screenplay by Richard Cottan and Peter Morgan, is not generally regarded as being in questionable taste. Suppose that someone wrote a screenplay about the 9/11 tragedy, where a first responder entered the World Trade Center towers, and instead of trying to rescue people, became a looter and a killer. That story might be viewed as insensitive, and inflammatory by many Americans. However thirty years from now, people may not feel the same way. Something similar, seems to have happened regarding Colditz.
Although the story is rather controversial, the pieces do fit together pretty well. The 184 minute miniseries devotes almost no time to the German captors, or the 'underground' that aided prisoners, but there are few slow moments. Damian Lewis (Band of Brothers) gives a strong performance, going from hero, to an utter cad. Sophia Myles (Outlander), who looks like a Kate Winslett clone, is very sympathetic. Tom Hardy (Layer Cake), manages to get through it all, but doesn't come across as obvious hero material. Those primarily interested in a wartime romance may appreciate this drama, but those concerned with showing some regard for past sacrifices, may find that the story takes too many liberties to be very palatable. There was talent and potential here, but some very unfortunate choices were made."
Enjoyable Historic WW II Movie
Daniel L. Clark | Denver, Colorado | 05/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Acting and Historical facts are combined to create an enjoyable WWII movie. Actors are unknown but pull the viewer into the movie with great acting skills. The movie follows the book which is very well written."
Total dribble, fabricated nonsense.
L. dunn | 06/21/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"When I rented this from the library I was under the assumption that it was an update on the original Colditz storeies by major Pat Reid. I was totally shocked to find that it actually was a made for tv drama.
I find it sacriligious to base a romantic drama on what was one of the most notorious German POW camps, as to why they did this, begggars belief,when the actual true life adventures of life in Colditz, are far more interesting.
As to the portrayal of the Germans brutal treatment of the prisoners is a total fabrication, it was quite the contrary.
The three books written by the famous Colditz escapee Pat Reid are well worth getting, if anyone is actaully inetersetd in the truth."