You Would be Wise to Buy this Robert Wise Set
Kevin C. Siqveland | Minneapolis, MN | 08/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Director Robert Wise started something very entertaining in the Action\War Genre: The now classic submarine stories (Hunt for Red October, Crimson Tide, U-571). Wise directed the submarine movie that started it all: RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP. If you liked HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, CRIMSON TIDE, and\or U-571, you will absolutely love 'RUN SILENT.'
Then you can watch one of the best overall war movies ever, THE GREAT ESCAPE. One of the definitive Steve McQueen movies, it is the classic tale of POW camp breakout by a group of classic actors. From the first minute, to the ending credits, you will feel as though you too have escaped from a POW camp.
Together, thay may be the best combo on the market today, so add them to your collection ASAP."
A must in your War Library
D. L. Phillips | Merriam, Ks United States | 06/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Both War Classics are of the Golden Age of the Silver Screen. Both are of the rare 10 star for my library.If only Holleywood would watch these and relearn how to make movies right."
Two Strong WWII Films Depicting the Will to Persevere
gobirds2 | New England | 07/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE GREAT ESCAPE is director John Sturges' brilliant film presentation of the absorbing Paul Brickhill Book. John Sturges effectively retells the story from the script by James Clavell and W.R. Burnett, which is a condensation of events and people taken from the book. The film deals with the lives and efforts of the Allied POW's to escape from a German prison camp. We do not see John Sturges take any side in this film. Only near the end of the film does he begin to make a political statement on Nazism and its effect on traditional German military ethics and the lives of the captured Allies. Sturges' focus is more on the men caught in war and its effects on them. We see the men rely on dormant qualities they never knew existed until they put on a uniform and were captured and held in foreign territory. We see men going to extreme lengths to escape because of their inborn right to be free. This is represented by Steve McQueen's character Hilts otherwise known as the "Cooler King," Charles Bronson as Danny and Angus Lennie as Ives the "The Mole." We see other men going to equal lengths to escape and cause havoc behind enemy lines by diverting German troops from the front to recapture them. This is the main purpose of the escape and Richard Attenborough as the "Big X" orchestrates the overall plan. He calls upon every expertise of the prisoners to reach this one goal. He calls upon tailors, forgers, scroungers, tinkers, and engineers, just about anyone capable of getting the job done. These are portrayed by James Garner, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, David McCallum, John Leyton, Gordon Jackson, Tom Adams, Nigel Stock and others.
For years this was considered a great World War II action adventure film, but John Sturges' reaches far above that mundane distinction. His style and ease of direction glosses over his own profound statements that he makes in this film. For example, James Garner cleverly befriends a German guard for the sole purpose of stealing his wallet so he can extort a 35-mm. camera and film from the guard. On the surface the audience is very amused at Garner's sly tactics, after all the Germans are the bad guys. However, subconsciously Sturges gave us enough personal information about the guard that we almost feel sympathy for him. This is reinforced by Sturges' choice of James Garner, one of the most likable actors in Hollywood, to perpetrate the deception on the unknowing guard. How can a nice guy like James Garner do this? As it works out Sturges lets the guard redeem himself. It is this guard that discovers the first tunnel when he spills some coffee on the floor and it disappears through the cracks. Now you the viewer are faced with a moral dilemma. Do I still feel sympathy for the guard? Do I still think that James Garner is a scoundrel? Or do I think that in war I have to do what is necessary? Garner's character did what he had to do and so did the guard.
Editor Ferris Webster did an excellent job of putting this complex story together giving it coherence and drive yet never sacrificing any of the wonderful characterizations that is the backbone of this film. Daniel Fapp's cinematography brilliantly gives us a feeling of claustrophobia while in the prison camp. Once the escape begins he gives us panoramas of landscapes that have a dual symbolism. On one emotional hand we are free and the far-off horizons elusively symbolize that freedom. On the other rational hand we know that we are still not free and the vastness of those landscapes only strengthens the reality that ultimate escape and freedom is improbable for the majority of the escapees. Composer Elmer Bernstein's main title theme is as much a tribute to the prisoners in this story as it is to all men who must overcome the odds through their own perseverance and unwillingness to bend to defeat to whatever noble end they strive for.
RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP is a tense WWII submarine drama comprised of Clark Gable (Commander Richardson) battling wits against an unseen Japanese enemy in his obsessive determination to destroy the vessel responsible for sinking his previous sub and responsible for the loss of his command. Clark Gable's determination leads him to vie for a new command and in doing so obtains the go-ahead to take command away from Burt Lancaster's sub. Keeping Lancaster on, as his executive officer, and the rest of Lancaster's crew aboard, Gable leads the submarine back to the Bonsai Straits to take on the enemy. Strong-willed Lancaster (Lieutenant Jim Bledsoe) and Gable battle each other every step of the way as the submarine and crew undergo relentless grueling practice drills for a tactic Gable is keeping secret to himself. Director Robert Wise brilliantly addresses themes concerning loyalty, respect, camaraderie and redemption for the characters aboard from John Gay's script based on Commander Edward L. Beach's novel. The veteran cast includes Jack Warden, Brad Dexter and Don Rickles. Veteran Special Effects man, A. Arnold Gillespie (THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO, FORBIDDEN PLANET) designed some very effective and ominous looking Japanese naval vessels adding to the atmosphere of this lurking enemy that haunts Gable. As this film intensifies to its conclusion Robert Wise builds the tension and suspense of Gable's obsession matched against the crews suspicions that perhaps their Captain has gone mad. Only Lancaster gradually recognizes the force that drives Gable and his risky plan to outwit the Japanese. This is a very good war film exploring what drives and haunts men in command and examines what tests their effectiveness and resourcefulness as leaders."