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The Great Escape

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The Great Escape
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Masculinity in the United States is a big issue regarding the persona of millions
of men in the nation and this film can attest to that notion. This light hearted and
fun oriented war drama is far from the usual drama that we think of. It follows a
band of American and British Air Force officers who in the past have tried numerous
attempts to escape prison camps. As the German Luftwaffe Colonel von Luger stated “I
have all of the rotten eggs in one basket”, this predicament turns out to be in
favor of the allied prisoners due in part to all of the expertise that these guys
contribute to escaping the facility.

This particular film is full of well-known
actors including Richard Attenborough (old guy from Jurassic Park), Charles Bronson,
and the King of Cool Steve McQueen. The film is full of things to describe men
during the time period that this film debuted. Take all the clichés of what men do
such as patting a baseball with gloves, smoking cigarettes, etc and what you have is
this film. It essentially epitomizes the MAN or what every guy should be. They even
throw in lighthearted jokes regarding countries such as the scene in which the
Americans celebrate the 4Th of July. They march up to their British partners in
colonial clothing and straight up tell them “down with the British, and join us by
having a drink.”

Based on a true story, this film revolves around a plan of escaping
the German stronghold by digging a series of tunnels underneath the compound by the
use of ingenious techniques. Then using gathered expertise from the population of
the prisoners, they devise what to do after escaping the facility. Clichés include
Lt. Hendley (Garner), an American who can scrounge up anything and use his charisma
to befriend German officers, and Danny Velinski (Bronson) as the “ tunnel king” who
has a bravado and sensitive side to his character.

Even though the main plot of this
film was about digging tunnels and escaping an impossible Nazi German prison, it
very much centers on Steven McQueen and the character that he embodies. McQueen
essentially symbolizes the American way and is very much seen through the motorcycle
scenes where he cruises through the German countryside, taking bold approaches, and
using his wits to outsmart the Germans. Very much manly throughout the film, his
tough guy persona takes a turn towards the end of the film where he gets himself
into a tough situation. This reveals the true moment of the movie and becomes one of
the most memorable scenes in film history.

Author/Artist/Director of Item Being Reviewed: 
John Sturges
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Daniel Lam
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