johnlink ranks STALAG 17 (1953)

Feeling good about these classics I’m getting around to. Interesting note… watched the Marx Brothers NIGHT AT THE OPERA which had an actor named Sig Ruman as the ‘villain’. Watched STALAG 17 tonight, and there was Ruman again, 18 years after OPERA, playing a comedic Nazi Sgt.

The movie is about a group of American soldiers in a Nazi POW camp. I watched STALAG 17 (1953) on 9.23.09. It was my first viewing of the film.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAINS THE SAME.

FILM

Knowing William Holden was the lead in this, I was caught off guard by how much of a comedy this was. I guess that Billy Wilder as director should have tipped me off (though he did do the noir DOUBLE INDEMNITY), but I didn’t expect a comedic WWII POW camp movie.

But once I realized where I was, I enjoyed it. There were some moments, especially with Animal, which felt forced. But the scenes with the entire group of men felt properly toned. This is not a great epic war movie, but it is a good, solid film about loyalty and trust. SCORE: 5

MOVIE

The funny fell flat often, but the mystery unfolded wonderfully. The scene between Holden and the mole was highly anticipated, and paid off very well. It took awhile to realize its potential, but the last thirty-five minutes were wonderfully suspenseful. SCORE: 6

ACTING

Holden is great (the role won him an Oscar), and the Nazis are great ( a strange sentence to write). Animal was overacted by Robert Strauss, and his comedic relief role was largely ineffective for me. I know this is more of a ‘film’ note, but I feel like BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI did a better job of balancing some humor with the tone of the movie’s thematic elements. SCORE: 6

WRITING

I guess some of that blame goes to the writing. When this movie gets down and serious, it is greatly effective. The dialogue between the Americans and Nazis is a little bit of looking at something through rose-colored-glasses. It is hard to swallow an American throwing paint in a Nazi’s face and not getting shot in the head after watching SCHINDLER’S LIST. This is a movie which feels like the play it came from. Holden gets great material, but it is otherwise quite pedestrian. SCORE: 4

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 5; MOVIE: 6; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 4

5+6+6+4+0= 21

FINAL SCORE: 5.25 (one of the lowest scores I’ve given to a movie in IMDB’s Top 250 in awhile…)

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~ by johnlink00 on September 22, 2009.

One Response to “johnlink ranks STALAG 17 (1953)”

  1. Also one of my favorites.

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