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Blu-ray Review: Iconic ‘The Great Escape’ Hits HD For 50th Anniversary

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CHICAGO – Mother’s Day is gone (hope you were nice to mom) and so the studios begin the push for Blu-ray titles perfect for Father’s Day gifts. The coming weeks will see reissues of Clint Eastwood classics, “The Mad Max Trilogy,” and much more, but it started last week with Fox/MGM’s reissue of the super-alpha-male “The Great Escape,” timed to its 50th anniversary. It’s been half-a-century since this mas macho classic became a box office smash and Oscar nominee. It’s held up pretty well even if the Blu-ray release isn’t a great one. Dad will likely just love the movie anyway.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

“The Great Escape” features a stellar story but it’s really about the massive star power of its cast — James Garner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson…sorry, Expendables, this may be the most macho cast of all time. They were almost all at their charismatic peak in this epic adventure and it’s their incredible screen presence that really drove the film’s success. The movie is too long by some stretch and the transfer on this Blu-ray release is pretty lackluster (especially in outdoor, long shots, where it looks real grainy and flat) but, once again, dear old dad probably won’t care. “The Great Escape” is no masterpiece but it’s a solid adventure for a rainy Saturday afternoon. Sometiems that’s all dad is looking for, an escape of his own after a long week at work.

The Great Escape was released on Blu-ray on May 7, 2013
The Great Escape was released on Blu-ray on May 7, 2013
Photo credit: Fox/MGM

Synopsis:
In 1943, the Germans opened Stalag Luft North, a maximum security prisoner-of-war camp designed to hold even the craftiest escape artists. In doing so, however, the Nazis unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in military history - brilliantly portrayed here by Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and James Coburn - who worked on what became the largest prison breakout ever attempted.

One of the most ingenious and suspenseful adventure films of all time, The Great Escape is a masterful collaboration between director John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven), screenwriter James Clavell (Shogun) and W.R. Burnett (Little Caesar), and composer Elmer Bernstein. Based on a true story, The Great Escape is epic entertainment that “captivates, thrills and stirs” (Variety).

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary By Director John Sturges, Cast & Crew
o 8 Featurettes Including The Untold Story, The Real Virgil Hilts and More

“The Great Escape” stars Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasance, and James Coburn. It was directed by John Sturges. It was released on Blu-ray on May 7, 2013.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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