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Stalag 17

4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 39.12
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Stalag 17 Stalag 17 4.7 out of 5 stars (41)
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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
World War II flicks. It is special & because of William Holton stands above the rest. I loved Steve McQueen & James Garner in The Great Escape & The Bridge over the River Kwai, also starring Holton, is epic. This movie is on a much smaller scale & is the best of the POW genre. Holton plays the disreputable Sgt. Sefton, a prisoner throughly despised & suspected of being the traitor in the POW camp responsible for escapees being caught & shot. How he singlehandedly reveals the Nazi in their midst is the movie's climax. Shot in glorious black & white adds to its grittiness realistic feel. I get caught up in it every time. It's on cable often, rent it or buy it cheap, here. Classic cinema from the 50's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I know he won an Oscar for his performance in this role, but has any great Hollywood star been shunted to the background of history as much as William Holden? The list of films in which the man made his character memorable runs the gamut from Sunset Boulevard to Picnic to The Wild Bunch to Network. And while I don't think it's his overall best role, Stalag 17 will be remembered not just as a great film but the one that got Holden his due.
As the opening voiceover says (and I'm paraphrasing), there have been a lot of war movies about submarines, flying leathernecks, tank commandos, etc. but none about the P.O.W. camps. Leave it to the late great Billy Wilder to rectify that. Certainly there's no glory of war here, or at least not the kind we're accustomed to. Wilder creates an insular world of desperate and downtrodden men thrown together in confinement and heaps on the stark reality of war's "other side".
Holden is the barracks' con man/horse trader and, thanks to the already poor relationship with his fellows, the immediate suspect when they determine someone on the inside is spying on them for the Germans. It's a testament to how well the film has held up over the years that even after seeing it long ago (and thus knowing who the spy is) that I was still riveted in anticipation of how he would be found out.
The Germans are a combination of menace and comedy, the former exemplified by Otto Preminger as the camp commander and the latter by the great character actor Sig Rumann as Sgt. Schulz. This film was the inspiration for Hogan's Heroes, but it's best to separate them in your mind if you can and appreciate the complexities of the situations and the characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holden's best May 26 2004
I can't even think of words to describe how much I love this film; it's one of those rarities that combine suspense with humor in a way that is incredibly rare in films, and when you find it, stays with you. Every performance is a gem.
One question--is the dvd widescreen, or available that way? Thanks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
STALAG 17 was the film that revitalized Billy Wilder's career. His previous film, the highly underrated ACE IN THE HOLE (easily one of the most cynical movies ever to come out of Hollywood), was a bust at the box office. As a result, Paramount, the studio Wilder had worked for since breaking into the business as a writer in the 1930s, inserted a demand in his contract that he pay for any losses should this film fail at the box office. As it was, it was a smash both critically and financially. Wilder left Paramount in anger after finishing it.
This was the first of the great prison camp movies to be made in the U.S., and arguably the best ever made. The story revolves around the attempt to discover which soldier in the camp is a stoolie for the Germans. Suspicion falls upon the profoundly and justifiably hated Sgt. Sefton, played by William Holden in a performance that gained him an Oscar (his acceptance speech was the shortest in the history of the awards: "Thank you"). Gradually all the soldiers turn against him, but in the end he is able to prove who the real fink is. Not an especially great plot, but the setting was completely unique at the time, and Wilder does a great job of building the suspense over who the real informant is.
The all-male cast (tough to talk the studio into at the time, since studio heads were convinced you had to have love interests in the film to interest both sexes) is memorable, filled with a bevy of great character performances. A couple of the performers are a bit on the annoying side, especially as they try to strike a note of gaiety despite their confinement, but by and large the cast is rock solid.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quasi-realism and burlesque: a comedic drama Feb. 7 2004
There was surprisingly enough a lot of humor in the American attitude toward the Nazis and the Germans during World War II. Life goes on even under the conditions of being prisoners of war, and people need to laugh. In such circumstances, they especially need to laugh. We can see that in some of the songs from that time and in this play from Donald Bevant and Edmund Trzcinski that Billy Wilder made into an unusually good movie. It should be realized that the full extent of the horror that the Nazis had visited upon Europe was not known until after the war was over and we saw the films of the concentration camps.
William Holden stars as Sgt J.J. Sefton whose amoral cynicism and gift for the cheap hustle allow him to feather his nest even while a prisoner of war. He's the guy who always had a storehouse of cigarettes, booze, silk stockings, candy, etc. under his bunk, the guy who always won at cards, whose proposition bets always gave him the edge. We had a guy like that when I was in the army. We called him "Slick."
But William Holden's Sefton is more than Slick. He is outrageously cynical and uncommonly brave. He takes chances because he doesn't have the same kind of fear that others have. Most people would feel self-conscious (and nervous) eating a fried egg while everybody else in the barracks had watery-thin potato soup. Others might feel uncomfortable with bribing German guards for bottles of Riesling or tins of sardines. Not Sefton. He flaunts his store of goodies.
Perhaps that is overdone. Perhaps the real hardships that prisoners went through are glossed over in this comedic drama--a comedy, incidentally, that plays very much like a Broadway musical without the music.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It passes time.
William Holden does a pretty good job or portraying a prisoner in a stalag during World War II.

Unlike the TV program "Hogan's Heroes" this movie is more serious yet it... Read more
Published on Sept. 26 2010 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of product
I received this item in good time and in good condition. If there are any othee items that I need from this person, I would not hesitate to order. Thank you
Published on July 23 2010 by Robert W. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining story set over sixty years ago, in Germany
Studio: Paramount Studio
Video Release Date: August 21, 2001
William Holden ... Sgt. J.J. Sefton
Don Taylor ... Lt. Read more
Published on May 31 2004 by Joseph H Pierre
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic WWII POW adventure/drama
Stalag 17 is an excellent war movie that belongs with The Great Escape and Bridge over the River Kwai as one of the best POW movies ever made. Read more
Published on Jan. 17 2004 by T O'Brien
5.0 out of 5 stars A great escape
The perfect blend of comedy, drama and mystery. The horrors of war are protrayed in the eyes of a group of US Sgts. in a POW camp who have a traitor in their midst. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2003 by Peter Ingemi
5.0 out of 5 stars A Memorable Comedy-Drama Comes To DVD
Although the play by Edmund Trzcinski and Donald Bevan had been a smash hit on Broadway, most insiders did not expect STALAG 17 to succeed as a film. Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2003 by Gary F. Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars smart scenario, great cast...
I watched that movie on tv and i think it is great! The cast is great, they play perfect. Scenario is great, it is simple and smartly written. Read more
Published on July 3 2003 by gmumcu@superonline.com
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent POW drama!
Stalag 17 is a prison camp during World War II in Nazi-Germany. This story takes place during the weeks close to Christmas where the Allied prisoners seem to have an informer... Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2003 by Kim Anehall
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