Talk:The Great Escape (film)/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2

distinguishing fact from fiction

Bob, Poetic licence can often be taken for granted. But in this particular case the wording in the introduction is misleading, in that many readers will have seen the film, but not read the book, and they will then tend to wrongly believe that the most famous scene in the film is true. The most famous scene is of course the bit at the end where Hilts tries to jump the barbed wire fence at the Swiss border on a motorbike. That bit was purely fictional, and indeed I can see now that this is fully acknowledged near the end of the article. Neverthless, I felt that some kind of clarification was needed in the introduction in order to avoid too much of a direct link between the word truth, and what first flashes into peoples' minds when they think of that film.

The film does broadly speaking keep to the theme of the book. That camp Stalag Luft III did exist. It was specifially made to hold allied airmen who had been troublesome to the German authorities. It was at Sagan in Eastern Germany, but nowadays in Zagan, Poland. There is still a museum and memorials at the site. Roger Bartlett does correspond in large degree to the real life character Roger Bushel who was essentially under Gestapo probation due to all his previous escape attempts. A tunnel was made. 76 did get out. Two did get to Sweden, and one did get to Spain. 50 of those recaptured were indeed murdered by the Gestapo. The dates are also pretty accurate.

In the book, there is an interesting chapter about the follow up investigation after the war which was largely successful in bringing the Gestapo perpetrators of the atrocity to justice.

I can see that you could potentially have trouble with this article from editors who have both read the book and seen the film, and who have got the details muddled. I haven't read it for nearly forty years, so I'll keep out of it because I may also get the finer details muddled. By the way, did you know that Paul Brickhill wrote an earlier seminal book with Conrad Norton called Escape to Danger? It does some very interesting pre-capture stories. David Tombe (talk) 01:57, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't think the lede is misleading re the motorcycle scene since it doesn't bring it up or allude to it. I don't think that someone who is reading the lede is thinking about the motorcycle scene.
Did you notice the following excerpt from the 2nd paragraph of the Adaptation section, which is around the middle of the article?
"Some fictional, dramatic elements were added, such as Hilts's dash for the border by motorcycle. The scene was added at the request of McQueen, who did nearly all the stunt riding himself except for the jump,[1] and has become one of the most famous action scenes of 1960s cinema."
--Bob K31416 (talk) 04:44, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
There was a brave attempt a few months ago to deal with this issue, but it failed, largely because of three reasons; (a) failure to realise that per WP:FILM, the film itself may be cited as describing plotlines and characters in the film (b) a systematic refusal of editors to allow time for cogent research by interested editors, who have other things to do, and (c) the loss of confidence by those editors in pursuing a plausible path of research despite the fact that they might have to travel long distances to get to the libraries holding the books they need; not everything is on the net. It was shot down in a uninformed and premature blitz of bad faith. It could have eventually been a useful article and the editor who began that article has now lost interest in the topic. Great collaboration, guys! Well done! Rodhullandemu 02:15, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Um, there is nothing to prevent those editors from working on such a section which adheres to the film style guidelines on adaptations and adding the material to the article once it is fully sourced and is not unsupported conjectures. Also, keep in mind that the film itself can act as a primary source only in the Plot section, not the other sections of the article. I do agree with Bob that the McQueen motorcycle scene is appropriately dealt with in the Production section. I note that David Tombe mentions a number of contrasts/comparisons between Brickhill's novel and the film, but none of them reference the necessary non-WP editor sources; these must be found to avoid synthesis. David Tombe, you may want to review this archived Discussion page for background. 173.72.136.143 (talk) 13:03, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
You may also want to check out the full discussion history of the article Rodhullandemu is referring to before proceeding further. 173.72.136.143 (talk) 13:50, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Non-reliable source

Please do not reintroduce material based on the website http://www.historyinfilm.com/escape/real10.htm. It does not meet the requirements of Verifiability: "Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Reliable sources are needed to substantiate material within articles, and citations are needed to direct the reader to those sources to give credit to the writers and publishers. This avoids plagiarism, copyright violations, and unverifiable claims being added to articles. Sources should directly support the material as it is presented in an article, and should be appropriate to the claims made: exceptional claims require high-quality sources."

The "directly support the material as it is presented" is also very applicable here: no Synthesis. 71.171.118.34 (talk) 13:02, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Hogan's Heroes

The article on the TV series Hogan's Heroes mentions the film Stalag 17 as an inspiration for this show; however, that movie was made back in the 1950's; and I thought I remembered that this more recent film was also a source for much of that show. I saw it recently; and the tricks for hiding the tunnels (not to mention the construction of the tunnels themselves), the bumbling Germans, the half-friendly guard that recalled Sgt. Schultz, and the often light-hearted tenor of the movie looked like they were taken directly into the TV series. Does anyone else remember this, or think there is something to it? Shocking Blue (talk) 15:01, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Hilts as a fictional character

I know there is a lot of discussion on here about fact & fiction, and the insertion of the motor-bike jump is mentioned there, but at no point that I can see (apologies if I missed it) is the fact that the character Hilts is a fabrication ever mentioned. The “Cooler King” was a British officer, Squadron Leader Eric Foster, who was involved with the construction of the tunnels, but didn’t participate in the escape. He didn’t ride motor-bikes, but did manage to get sent back to Britain by feigning insanity. There he was committed to an asylum, and had to convince the authorities that he was sane, which led to him in later life often joking that “I can prove I’m not mad - can you?” He died in the bath, aged 95. Jock123 (talk) 16:25, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Just after the opening credits of the film there is a written statement that includes the comment, "...the characters are composites of real men...". So it's not just the Hilts character that is a composite. I just added the following to the article, "The characters in the film are composites of real men." Thanks. --Bob K31416 (talk) 18:26, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Fate of characters

The section about the fate of the characters is somewhat confusing as it contradicts the plot summary section. For example, Jud Taylor's character, Goff, throws Hilts the latter's baseball glove toward the end of the film but according to the character list, Goff's fate was that he was recaptured and shot. The plot summary also states that only three managed to successfully escape but the character of Nimmo is listed as having escaped as well. Someone needs to go and double-check the fates for some of the minor characters. For the record, neither Goff nor Sorren ("Security") make it through the tunnel; when the whistle is blown they are at the tunnel exit but retreat back to the tunnel entrance, so their fate should be that they failed to escape. David French (talk) 03:17, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

factual error

When Seldgwick is sitting in the "café" near the river close to german officers he is reading an issue of the newspaper "Liberation". It is impossible for "Liberation" was a french resistance clandestine newspaper and to read it publicly was the best mean to go to jail or directly in a camp. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 193.51.59.107 (talk) 13:14, 27 April 2011 (UTC)


Cast list vs. table

I boldly removed the cast table and replaced it with a straight cast list. In general, tables are discouraged because they take up more space and simply add to the character count. In this case, the added information --- the fates of the characters and the historical people upon whom the characters are supposedly based --- is better dealt with in the main article text. In the case of the character's fates, that should be in the plot summary. The more complex matter of who the characters are based on should be dealt with the production section, most likely in the subsection on the development of the film. I would like to hear what other editors think about this. Thanks. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 18:43, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Hollywood version of events

While the film used actual prisoners of war as technical advisors, the film is very much a Hollywood version of events and glosses over many things especially the grittiness of what actually took place.

One thing I strongly question about the film is the attempt, early in the film, by British prisoners (actually Australian and Polish) to try to get out of the camp by pretending to be Russian prisoners. Considering how much more harshly the Germans treated Russian prisoners, including being much more willing to shoot them and starve them to death, it seems like a rather foolish move (almost like jumping from the frying pan to the fire). I wonder if this ever actually took place and wasn't just something the script writers added?

Attempts have been made to compare the television series Hogan's Heroes to this movie. Hogan's Heroes really doesn't have any more in common with this movie than most of the movies (and books) about Allied prisoners trying to escape a German prison-of-war camp. Hogan's Heroes involves prisoners, not trying to escape, but carrying out acts of espionage and sabotage involving spies, defectors, escaped prisoners from other camps, resistance groups, German secret weapons and beautiful women. Characterization of the Germans is also completely different especially the camp commandant as well as the interaction between the prisoners and guards. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tim Gruber (talkcontribs) 15:01, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

The Talk Pages are not a Forum. They are only for the discussion of Reliable Sources for the improvement of the article. Please don't do this again. You've been warned already about adding Original Research to articles (which your diatribe above is).HammerFilmFan (talk) 04:59, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Incorrect link

The link from the (presumably German) actor Hans Reiser is to the wrong Hans Reiser - an American computer programmer who is also a convicted murderer. He was born in 1963, which is the year the film was made. I don't know how to delete the link, or I would do it myself.92.111.250.34 (talk) 16:12, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Good catch. I've corrected the link to point to Hans Reiser (actor).
If you'd like to make changes like this on your own, the page Help:Link has useful information on how to get started. You may also want to visit the Teahouse for assistance with other aspects of editing. Welcome to Wikipedia. Nick Number (talk) 16:31, 29 March 2015 (UTC)