Colditz castle was used by the Nazis to hold the "bad boys", (those who regularly tried to escape from other camps). At all times the guards outnumbered the prisoners and, because some political prisoners were also held there they were *very* strictly monitored. But if you put all those people in one place and they're all trying to escape, well ... Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
P.R. Reid wrote three books on Colditz: "The Colditz Story" (1952) and "The Latter Days at Colditz" (1953). The earlier book, based largely on Reid's own experiences, was the basis for the film. In 1984, Reid also published "Colditz: The Full Story," a less personal and more thoroughly researched account of Colditz during WWII. See more »
According to the calendar on the Kommandant's desk during his interview with Colonel Richmond about moving the Polish prisoner, the date is "Dienstag Oktober 4" (Tuesday October 4). October 4 did not fall on a Tuesday at all during WW2, although it did in 1955, the year of the film's release. See more »
[watching a particularly rough game in the excercise yard]
Who was it said our ancestors were apes?
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Opening credits: "Every incident in the film you are about to see is true. With the exception of the author, Major P.R.Reid,M.B.E.,M.C., who acted as technical adviser on the film, all names have been changed and certain events have been related out of their historical context. These and only these liberties have been taken with ...." See more »
People who watch The Colditz Story have probably seen The Great Escape as well and should bear in mind the fact that that camp where Steve McQueen, James Garner, and the rest was built to house all the big escape artists. Those really persistent offenders got incarcerated at the castle called Colditz. Those that is that didn't get summarily executed by the Gestapo as we well remember from The Great Escape.
What an incredible waste of manpower, but those guards had to be lucky because they could be at the Russian front. In The Colditz Story there are more guards than prisoners. When you think about it, it would have been easier for the Nazis to let this bunch be exchanged.
The protagonist of the story is later historian Pat Reid and he's played here by John Mills. Mills's character is the official British escape officer, there are French, Dutch, and Polish officers among those nationalities. Getting international cooperation here is about as easy as the alliance that defeated Nazi Germany with all the cracks and fraying in that endeavor.
There are two other standout characters, the senior British officer Eric Portman and Scot's Guard Christopher Rhodes. Rhodes had an interesting career, he and Stanley Baker probably were up for a lot of the same parts in British cinema. He played some very rough characters on film, some outright villains. Here he's just an incorrigible prisoner who's very rebelliousness endangers the escape plans of many. His is the best performance in The Colditz Story.
Made over 50 years ago, The Colditz Story holds up very well for today's audience. No flamboyant heroics like in The Great Escape, but some real situations in a story told simply and well.
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