Movie Screening & Discussion - "Stalag 17"

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Adults, Seniors
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Program Description

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Join Marcus Renna in the Scott Room for a screening and discussion of the 1953 war film "Stalag 17," directed by Billy Wilder and based on the play of the same name written by Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski based on their experiences in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II. The film stars William Holden in an Oscar-winning performance, along with Don Taylor, Robert Strauss, Otto Preminger, and many other classic actors of the 1950s and 1960s.

Late in World War II, the men of Barracks 4 in the prison camp Stalag 17 attempt to arrange the escape of two of their members, but the escapees are detected and shot before they can complete their escape. Suspicion falls on J.J. Sefton (Holden) as an informant for his roguish and mercantile willingness to barter with the German warden (Preminger) for luxuries. Intrigue swirls around Stalag 17 as prisoners such as Lieutenant James Dunbar (Taylor) and Stanislas Kuzawa (Strauss) attempt acts of sabotage or simple entertainments to pass the time. Things come to a head when Sefton, meaning to clear his name, uncovers the true informant in the camp.

"Stalag 17" is notable as one of the first wave of American war films made in the post World War II period dealing with life in a prisoner of war camp, thus playing an influence on later beloved films such as "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957) and "The Great Escape (1963). It also bears similarity in subject matter to the televsion show "Hogan's Heroes" to the point that Bevan and Trzcinski attempted to sue the show's producer's for infringement. A suspenseful and grimly humorous look at the deprivation and tedium of life in prison.