Colditz castle was used by the Nazis to hold the "bad boys", (those who regularly tried to escape from other camps). At all times the guards outnumbered the prisoners and, because some political prisoners were also held there they were *very* strictly monitored. But if you put all those people in one place and they're all trying to escape, well....
In stark contrast to the jovial exuberance of John Sturges' The Great Escape, director Guy Hamilton goes for realism over Hollywoodism in this portrayal of life and escape in the Saxony ROW castle. As such it is a less entertaining but a more worthy depiction of fleeing the Hun.
John Mills is Pat Reid (the real character upon whose memoirs it is based) recent internee at the supposedly escape-proof castle where all the veteran jailbreak specialists finally land up. Whereupon the resultant multinational mix of freedom-seeking talents all band together to concoct plans to defy the walls of Colditz.
A little mundane (it dwells too much on the day-to-day) and never quite living up to the cinematic potential, this is still a meat-and-potatoes war movie, solid in performance, direction and stiff-upper quotient. And it did spawn a TV series and the best board game ever.
A great effort, but for the slow pacing between action scenes.