Before The Shawshank Redemption gave us a life affirming story about a prison break, a classic film, The Great Escape filled this void nicely.
In case you need reminding, The Great Escape is an epic from Director John Sturges about a group of POW’s who plan a prison break during World War II.
The captive star studded cast includes Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn and Richard Attenborough… just to name a few.
It is no surprise that this movie is legendary enough to have a documentary made about revisiting these iconic locations from the film along with first person accounts from cast and crew. This Documentary is aptly called The Coolest Guy Movie Ever.
When this opportunity came across my desk, It dawned on me that it has been ages since I had seen The Great Escape. I chose to go the extra mile with this review by re-watching The Great Escape so I could get the full effect of the documentary.
With visions of the movie crystal clear in my mind, even watching this documentary and seeing people stomp around the barren field where the prison camp once was made an impact.
With a keen eye for detail, these documentarians wheeled all over Germany, from Munich to Bavaria, and they would even hold up photos stills from the movie to compare it with the location as it exists half a century later.
Of course they also show many memorable shots from The Great Escape to support the narrative and compare with the real settings. You know the ones, Steve McQueen riding a motorcycle across a lush green field after escaping and disguising himself as a German soldier, or the sweeping master shots when we first see the POW camp.
The Coolest Guy Movie Ever features interviews from Actor James Coburn, stunt performer Bud Ekins and Robert E. Relyea who was the First AD on The Great Escape.
Their incites, combined with these great visuals from cinema history, give you an in depth backstory to The Great Escape that you will be glad they dug up. It will also remind you why this movie is still part of the culture to this day.
Remember Quentin Tarantino as Mr. Brown in Reservoir Dogs? In the opening scene he talks about how a well endowed man was “like Charles Bronson in The Great Escape, he’s diggin’ tunnels.”
The film goes to great lengths to retrace the steps of this production, including a visit to the lodge where the actors stayed while production was going on.
The Coolest Guy Movie Ever is the debut feature for director Christophe Espenan, who also edited the Documentary. On the other hand, this is familiar territory for the Executive Producer of the movie, Steven Jay Rubin. He has other credits that peer into the behind the scenes of movies such as The Making of Casino Royale and Chopping Mall: Creating the Killbots.
If that was not enough, in 1993 Rubin wrote and directed a short documentary on this subject called Return to the Great Escape. While the casual film goer may not respond to a documentary like this, anyone who considers themselves a film fan and especially those who salute The Great Escape will enjoy The Coolest Guy Movie Ever.
At a total run time of 58 minutes, this documentary gets in and out with the efficiency of Steve McQueen and company. The Coolest Guy Movie Ever will be released on DVD and Digital on August 21, 2018 from Virgil Films.
Curt Wiser is the Writer/Director of the suspense feature Cam-Girl. As a filmmaker he is happy to get his boots on the ground to give a kind word about other films and share them with the rest of the camp.