7.0/10
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The Wooden Horse (1950)

True story of three British POWs and their attempt to escape from Nazi Germany.

Directors:

Jack Lee, Ian Dalrymple (uncredited)

Writer:

Eric Williams (screenplay adapted from his novel by)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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The prisoners in Colditz Castle make many attempts to escape captivity from the arrival of the first British prisoners after Dunkirk in 1940 until the liberation of the castle by the ... See full summary »

Stars: David McCallum, Richard Heffer, Paul Chapman
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leo Genn ... Peter Howard
David Tomlinson ... Phil Roe
Anthony Steel ... John Clinton
David Greene ... Nick Bennett
Peter Burton ... Nigel
Patrick Waddington ... Group Captain Wardley - Senior British Officer
Michael Goodliffe ... Robbie
Anthony Dawson ... Pomfret
Bryan Forbes ... Paul
Dan Cunningham Dan Cunningham ... David
Peter Finch ... Australian in Hospital
Philip Dale Philip Dale ... Bill White
Russell Waters Russell Waters ... 'Wings' Cameron
Ralph Ward Ralph Ward ... Adjutant
Franz Schafheitlin Franz Schafheitlin ... Camp Commandant
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Storyline

In a POW camp, the Nazis have placed the huts far from the boundary so that any escape tunnel would have to be a long one. One British officer has the idea of starting a daily gynmastics routine using a vaulting horse: they can place it near the boundary and start a tunnel from under it. He and two others do escape the camp by this means and plan to make for neutral Sweden. To do that, they'll not only have to move around without arousing any suspicions, but also find a stranger from a neutral or occupied country who'll be willing and able to help them. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Charged with high voltage excitement !

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Danish | French

Release Date:

7 September 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Calul de lemn See more »

Filming Locations:

Denmark See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The events in this film did indeed take place at the same POW camp (Stalag Luft III) as The Great Escape. However, they occurred in different compounds. See more »

Goofs

Whilst the escape is in progress, there is a quick shot of a German guard near the compound fence. His rifle has a British pattern webbing sling; the upper brass buckle can be seen clearly. See more »

Quotes

Peter: [last lines, on meeting German officers in neutral Sweden] I believe they think we shouldn't be here.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hitler: The Comedy Years (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Nymphs and Shepherds
(uncredited)
Composed by Henry Purcell
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User Reviews

 
One of my all-time favorites
25 June 2003 | by B24See all my reviews

While thinking of "The Great Escape" I allowed my mind to wander back to this little gem of a movie from my childhood. I had read and re-read the autobiographical novel from 1949 which inspired it, and when it came to the only cinema (we never used that word then , actually) in town that showed "foreign" films, I was first in line to buy my ticket.

As someone brought up on wartime newsreels and propaganda films during WWII, I had an avid interest in exploring the realities of that conflict as reflected in the memoirs and stories of men who were there in person. That extended later to a keen willingness over the years to buy any book on the subject, and eventually to read the equally compelling novels of Hans Helmut Kirst and Erich Maria Remarque, which provided an even deeper sensibility. The movie versions, however, were unlike this one in that they rarely delivered the goods.

The medium of black-and-white film has never been served so well as it was in those years. I have never seen any technicolor version of war that seems as authentic as do the deep chiaroscuros of films like "The Wooden Horse." If it is true that we are destined always to be captive to the images of our childhood, then I confess it freely.

And there will never be another the likes of Leo Genn as the emblematic British war hero on film. Not even Sir Alec.


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