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Movies: “The Great Escape”

May 12, 1963 - “The Great Escape” will begin an exclusive engagement at the Fox Wilshire Theater in Los Angeles on July 2. Steve McQueen, James Garner, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, and Richard Attenborough star in the film, which was produced and directed by John Sturges. Based on Paul Brickhill’s true story of the largest mass breakout of prisoners-of-war in military history, “The Great Escape” was filmed in color and Panavision on authentic locations in Germany. Sturges previously directed McQueen in “Never So Few” (1959) and “The Magnificent Seven” (1960). In “The Great Escape,” McQueen plays Captain Virgil Hilts, “The Cooler King,” one of three Americans in the camp. Hilts irritates guards with frequent escape attempts and an irreverent attitude, to the point that he is regularly confined in isolation in the cooler. He has a habit of bouncing a baseball against the cooler cell wall to entertain himself. The screenplay was written by James Clavell and W.R. Burnett. Elmer Bernstein (“The Magnificent Seven,” “To Kill a Mockingbird”) composed and conducted the musical score. The supporting cast includes James Donald, Donald Pleasence, David McCallum, and Angus Lennie.


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