POW: prisoners of war. This kind of prisoners was very “popular” during the WWII. They ware held in a special concentration camp, called Stalag. Stalag 17 was one of the hardest one. Without civilians, Stalag 17 had a lot of soldiers divided by countries. Our story is about the American section. There live only North American sergeants. Their life is hard, but they try to enjoy with small things: mice races, underground radio, drinking home-made liquor, spying Russian female-soldiers... Sometimes, brave soldiers try to scape. However, the Nazi Army wait for them and kill them. How is it possible? Only one answer: there's a traitor. J.J. Sefton is a perfect candidate: always has good presents, is very friendly with the enemy, never try to runaway... Nobody likes him and, when the Lt. J. Dunbar is betrayed, all the POW's accuse him of it and beat him up. Sefton says that he's innocent; but nobody believes him. So, Sefton'll try to find the stool pigeon for himself. But he must be very fast because SS soldiers are in Stalag 17 to take Dunbar to Berlin...
Billy Wilder filmed this classic in 1953. Stalag 17 is an adaptation from the play written by Donald Bevan y Edmund Trzcinski (both real POW's in Stalag XVII-B) This adaptation is a dense story about prisoners' camps with a special comedy touch made in Wilder. Sometimes the spectator can think that they're in a theater, because scenes are too statics and dialogs are too longs.This kind of situations (for a war movie) aren't normal. However, the plot (very intense and complex) and the performances (mainly by support actors) turn the movie into a masterpiece. I strongly recommend this "different" war film.
To Remember: Support actors. Incredibles. Mainly R.Strauss (Oscar nominated), H. Lembeck and Otto Preminger.
To Forget: I miss more action (It's like a play on a big screen). Also, sometimes is too nacionalist; of course Americans were important soldiers but always braves and with good sense of humor? I can't believe it!
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