DVD Review of Special Edition of THE GREAT ESCAPE(1963)


For some of us who enjoy WWII action films, especially prison camp escape films like STALAG 17, KING RAT or THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI, then John Sturges' THE GREAT ESCAPE(1963) starring an all star cast such as Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Donald Pleaseance, David McCallum and Richard Attenbourough would be considered the best of it's genre. Based on a novel by Paul Bricknell who was in real life involved in The Great Escape depicted in the POW war camp in Nazi Germany in 1944, this almost three hour film perfectly recreates with some artistic Hollywood licenses of course, the events that happened during the incident in WWII.
This 2 DVD Disc set that celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the film's release in 1963 is the best version released on video so far. This film is digitally remasterede in Anamorphic Widescreen and DTS Dolby Digital 5.1 Stereo with a great audio commentary on the first disc by the cast and crew of the film. Unfortunately Steve McQueen isn't in this commentary since he passed away in 1980 and Charles Bronson couldn't do it because of his ill health(he passed away in 2003), but at least this commentary recorded a few years ago contains incisive comments on the film by Garner, Coburn, Pleaseance, McCallum and director Sturges(before his death) and co-producer Robert Relyea and stunt man Bud Elkins. this side of the disc also contains a film fact pop-ups that contain many interesting facts about the making of the film.
The second DVD disc has no less than 5 new featurettes on the making of the film, the true history of The Great Escape and it's aftermath, as well as movie & TV trailers, a photo & poster gallery and facts about the heroes of The Great Escape. Any fan of this great war movie should gest this Special Edition DVD Set since I personally consider it the definite DVD version of this film and I heartfully recommend it.

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