The Colditz Story (1955) Movie Script

Welcome to Colditz!
Forgive us for not coming down
to the station to meet you.
We were unavoidably detained.
I'm Harry Tyler - late Oflag 9A.
Pat Reid. This is McGill.
Black Watch.
Glad to know you.
Jimmy Winslow,
also late Oflag 9A.
- Hello.
- Hello.
We're from Oflag 7C,
via the Swiss frontier.
Oh, hard luck.
Well, we didn't even get that far.
We woke in a haystack outside Dresden
with a pitchfork through our pants!
I'll get a cigarette.
He got shot down over Abbeville
the day he got engaged.
T ough luck.
- How long have you been here?
- We got here late last night.
What is this place?
Well, I wouldn't know
beyond the fact that it's called Colditz.
Funny set-up, isn't it?
What were all those faces
at the windows?
Poles, here since the fall of Poland.
Yes, we four
are the only British here.
Obviously all the other camps
are crowded out.
Oh, come off it, Harry.
Crowded out, my foot!
- We're here for something special.
- Oh, shut up, Jimmy!
Why should l?
I don't like it. These fellows
have got to know sometime.
They might as well know now.
They took us out this morning,
the two of us,
and they marched us down the hill
and stood us up against a rock,
and they said, "Turn around",
and there they were.
All standing in a row,
their rifles pointing at our chests,
just like a firing squad.
It was a joke.
Yes, a joke.
I nearly split my sides laughing.
We were taken out there for exercise.
That was this morning.
What about tomorrow?
What about the morning
when the joke isn't funny anymore?
Tyler, Captain, Brigade of Guards.
- Er... Reid.
- McGill, Winslow.
Parlez-vous Francais?
Francais? Mais oui!
Certainement! Et vous aussi?
Oui, un peu.
Tres petit peu, i ndeed.
Doesn 't somebody rou nd here
speak English?
Yes, I speak English!
I have stayed before the war
in Nottingham.
Good egg.
Know the Black Boy?
Please? No.
My aunt, she live in Nottingham.
She marry with a Nottinghamshire man.
The Black Boy?
I'm sorry, but I don't know him.
Well, it's er... It's an inn.
Yes, you know, a hotel, cafe.
Ah, a pub!
No, alas.
My aunt, she does not crawl the pubs.
How many of you are there?
One hundred twenty one.
Yes, and how many when you came?
- One hundred twenty one.
- Well, that's a relief.
- You mean the Germans haven't...
- Haven't eaten any of you?
Eaten us?
What is it that you say in Nottingham?
No bloody fear!
Er... how did you get in here?
- We walk!
- Well... through keyholes?
- What?
- Through locked... Iocked doors?
Ah, locked doors, yes.
We open them!
We open everything.
We open even bottles!
Who is the senior?
You, Hauptmann Tyler,
have the longest been here.
There is too much noise.
Oh, I'm sorry,
We were laughing.
Ah, laughing?
Oh, I see,
you have the British humour.
Well, Englishmen
will laugh at anything.
But mostly they laugh at nothing.
Here you will not laugh for long.
Here you will remain
until the war is won... by Germany.
There will be no escape,
unless you wish to die.
Now you can laugh if you wish.
- All change for Piccadilly!
- What's the hurry?
A lovely spot,
Richard, old boy.
Reminds me of my early days
at Caterham.
Look, don't shout,
you self-inflated little man.
Oh, do shut up, Robin. These jokers
are not the chaps we've been used to.
Our kit is in the front of the lorry,
my dear chap.
You'd better fetch it.
It will make life much easier.
Who's that old fool?
I don't know.
He's got a nerve.
- Is that the lot, Bates?
- Just one more, sir.
He's got a servant, too.
- Colonel Richmond?
- Yes, that's me.
The Kommandant wishes to see you.
Will you please follow me?
- Now where's he going?
- Off to speak to Matron, I imagine.
- What's his regiment, old boy?
- I don't know.
- I bet it's NAAFl.
- Come.
- There's the kit, you ugly brute.
- Good!
Be seated, Colonel Richmond.
I prefer to stand.
Your journey has been trying,
all the way from Spangeburg.
I'm afraid trains in any country
are not at their best in wartime.
- Cigarette?
- No, thanks.
Oh, I see. You do not smoke.
Now, Colonel Richmond,
let us talk as man to man.
If you insist.
As you no doubt will have guessed,
I'm the Kommandant of Colditz Castle.
Colditz is a prisoner of war camp,
recently set up
to accommodate
all those prisoners of war
who, like yourself, have been so foolish
as to try escaping
from the various Oflags
throughout the German Reich.
You have been blacklisted, all of you,
as enemies of Germany.
And most of you no doubt
would have been shot by now
if Germany did not respect
the Geneva Convention.
So, in here you will find
Poles, and Dutch,
and French, besides you British,
all of whom
have let themselves be bitten
by this imbecile escaping bug.
I was a prisoner of war myself
between 1 91 6 and 1 91 8,
so I know what I'm talking of.
Near Edinburgh.
- Do you know Edinburgh?
- Not well.
- It is in Scotland.
- So I believe.
All right, Colonel Richmond.
As senior among the British,
I have sent for you to warn you
that out of Colditz
there will be no escaping.
The safety of your officers
is in your hands.
The responsibility of those
who guard you is in mine.
Let me emphasise it once more -
the sole reward for trying
to escape from Colditz will be death!
I will repeat these comments tomorrow
morning to all prisoners on parade.
I wish it to be understood
that from this camp
there will be no escapes.
You all came to this camp
as a punishment,
because you have made attempts,
repeated and unsuccessful attempts... escape from other camps
for prisoners of war.
It might interest you to know
that in the 1 91 4-1 91 8 war
in which I also had the honour
to serve my country
This castle has been used
as a prisoner of war camp.
From here there were no escapes!
There will be no escapes
in this war either.
Hauptmann Priem and his security force
are constantly amongst you
and on the watch.
I warn you,
he has had much experience
in other camps.
Attempting to escape is forbidden.
Any officer attempting to escape
will be shot.
- What's your name?
- Reid, sir.
- Reid? Ah, yes. And yours?
- McGill, sir.
You're both old boys, I think.
Tell me, what's it like in here?
I don't know, sir.
We only came in last night.
We were picked up
on the Swiss frontier.
Pity. Still, it's goodbye
to all that now, isn't it?
- Goodbye to all that, sir?
- You heard what the Kommandant said.
He said escaping is verboten,
didn't he?
Silly old woman.
Ought to be repatriated.
Who'd want him?
I'll bet he lives in a bath chair
in Cheltenham.
"He said escaping was verboten,
didn't he?"
I don't know what verboten means,
do you?
I haven't a clue.
Hey. Emperor Franz Joseph, ja?
Yes... ja, ja.
'The British,
the French at 1 1 : 1 5,
'the Dutch at 1 1 :30
'the Poles at 1 1 :45.
'The following officer will attend
a medical inspection
'reporting here at 1 4:50...'
You see that manhole cover
over there, half left?
Yes. It's bolted down.
Because Jerry doesn't want us
to lift it up.
And I'll tell you why.
The funny thing about that dame was
that she always threw you out about six.
Taxis don't exactly grow on trees
in that district, do they?
I bet you under that manhole
there might be some juicy drains
leading somewhere.
What, outside the castle?
Not a hope.
Still, it's worth a snoop, isn't it?
- OK, Pat, I'm with you.
- Hmm, not now. Tonight, eh?
'The German dentist
will be available
'to give treatment
on Wednesday the 1 7th.
'Any officer requiring treatment
'will hand his name to the adjutant
of each contingent.'
All right, all right!
Give me time. It's dark in here!
OK, room for one more.
Come on, come on, give it here.
What are you doing,
Lieutenant McGill?
Playing squirrels?
What's up, Mac?
Calls himself a stooge!
Showed him up
like a ruddy butler!
That's worth ten days in solitary,
I should think.
Oh, he won't go to solitary.
There's five to a cell,
and a month's waiting list, I hear.
If we get caught tonight,
we'll have to take our turn in the queue.
- Unless we have a good stooge.
- Hmm.
What about old Jeeves here?
Off you go. You've got four minutes
before they come back.
Blasted frogs!
May I help you?
- My name's Reid.
- Capitaine La Tour, enchante.
How do you do?
Where can I find Captain Chambert?
He is up before the Kommandant
this morning, so I understand.
- Serves him right.
- Pardon?
I said, "Serves him right."
Silly basket!
Kicking the roof down last night.
He ruined everything.
What did he ruin but your sleep?
Look, we had something on last night.
Your precious Captain Chambert
wrecked that
and damn nearly got himself killed
into the bargain.
I see. I'm sorry.
But why do you blame
le Capitaine Chambert?
Well, he never told us
what he was up to.
- Did you tell him?
- No, but ours wasn't just a crazy idea.
- That is a matter of opinion.
- Well, that's my opinion.
- And I hope you've nothing on tonight.
- Perhaps. Who knows?
That is our affair, in my opinion.
There are others in the camp
besides the British, Captain Reid.
You're telling me!
Come in.
- Good morning, sir.
- Yes, Reid?
I'm fed up, sir.
Yes, so am l.
I collected these fellows yesterday
on exercise.
I'm not quite sure
if they're going to live.
You know
we had something on last night?
Yes, I did hear something going on.
Well, these blasted Frenchmen
messed it up.
How did they manage to do that?
- They had someone on the roof, sir.
- What was he doing there?
Escaping, sir... or trying to.
Oh... and what are you fed up about?
Well, why couldn't he have
warned us he was trying...?
- Did you warn him?
- What of, sir?
Well, did you warn him
you'd got something on?
Well, of course not, sir.
Tell a lot of gabby Frenchmen...?
Then you mustn't blame the French
if they think that way, too.
Perhaps they need a stimulant.
I know I do.
Yes, sir.
Well, Pat?
He says we should have warned them.
Anybody would think
he was a ruddy foreigner.
Well, as far as I'm concerned he is.
Just stood there watering
a pair of seedy looking daisies.
- What do you mean, daisies?
- Look, Mac, Richmond's a wash-out.
We'll have to do without him.
Let's get the tunnel finished.
That's a good idea.
We'll try and get it finished
by the end of the month.
All clear, Pat.
- Right, chaps, all clear.
- It's all right for some.
- Aren't you happy in your work?
- Don't worry, it's your turn next.
What's the matter?
You've only been down there a fortnight.
Thanks, boy.
If you were ordering dinner
at the Savoy, now, tonight,
what would you kick off with?
- Who's paying?
- I am.
Smoked salmon
and a little caviar.
Egg mayonnaise.
Get 'em out of there quick!
Give us a hand!
You all right, Dick?
Right. Give us a hand.
Up you come!
- Jimmy! Jim!
- Get out of it!
Here, give us a hand here.
You all right, Jimmy?
Up you come.
You British are saboteurs!
We are one day away from freedom,
and what do you do?
- You blow us up!
- Keep it quiet in there!
- Cover up quick. Here come the goons.
- Never mind about that. We've had it.
Get out of it, boy!
This... This fat fool fell in on me!
- Tunnelling over us!
- Tunnelling over you! I like that!
We have been there
for two weeks.
Weeks? We've been here for months.
Nein! Two tunnels!
You will forgive me, gentlemen,
if I express myself strongly,
but everything in this castle
is in a darned awful mess.
And what depresses
and surprises me most of all
is the appalling lack
of co-operation between us
on this most important subject
of escape.
There is no liaison.
That is where we're at fault.
That is why I have called
this meeting tonight,
to make a proposition to you,
which I hope you will agree to.
I propose
that each of us four senior officers
appoint one of our officers
to be escape officer.
His duties will be to consider
any ideas and suggestions
regarding any proposed escapes,
and to liaise
with his fellow escape officers
with a view to avoiding any interference,
intentional or unintentional,
with any particular plan.
In order to achieve this eminent
and desirable state of affairs,
it will be necessary to have a continuous
and frank exchange of information.
Anything less will be useless.
That is why I asked each of you to bring
one of your officers to this meeting.
That is why l, myself,
have brought along Captain Reid.
- Now, Reid, do you accept the post?
- Yes, sir.
It's going to be hard work,
hard going all the way.
Hard knocks.
No thanks from anyone.
No guarantee of anything,
but constant and repeated failures.
Well, gentlemen, do you agree?
We agree, sir.
And you, sir?
I do not agree.
Oh. Indeed? Why?
If one of us thinks of a plan to escape,
it is in our head alone.
Later, perhaps, we choose one,
two, three companions whom we trust.
Now it is now in those two, three,
four heads - no more.
But with your plan
there are too many heads.
First, we have to tell
our escaping officer...
I am prepared to trust
the officer you appoint
to keep his mouth shut
as unquestioningly as I trust Pat Reid.
Mais, mon Colonel.
One of my officers,
he thinks of an escape,
a plan so admirable,
so ingenious, so perfect...
If he did, I'd say "Good luck" to him.
But with your proposition...
presto, the plan is no longer French.
It is Dutch, and Polish, and British too.
What happens then?
The Dutch, the British, and the Poles,
they take this plan,
- so admirable, so ingenious, so...
- And steal it from the French?
Ah, non, I did not say they steal it,
but perhaps they borrow it,
as one borrows
une allumette, a match.
It is no use after it is struck.
I think so too.
All right. I'm sorry, Pat.
There's only one thing for it.
Would you all agree to this?
That no escaping officer be permitted
to escape during his term of office?
Ah, no, it is not possible.
Who would take the post?
Pat, you have
my full permission to resign.
- I'll keep it, sir.
- Well, gentlemen...
Give me the usual, Dickie, will you?
- Thanks.
- When's the chocolate coming in?
Just a moment.
I understand the French and the Poles
have agreed to your plan.
That's right.
Well, Pat, please don't laugh.
I've been made
the Dutch escaping officer.
That's great. That's great!
When we've got all 1 50 of them out,
we'll go out ourselves, eh?
Be seeing you.
I hope the war will last that long!
Come in.
Good morning, Colonel.
Oh, I'm sorry.
Good morning, Pat.
Bad news?
My daughter's guinea-pig.
It died.
- Shame.
- Oh, do you think so?
My wife takes a different view.
She says...
Let me see, where is it?
"Sarah's Pop", my daughter's
most undisciplined, "has died at last."
"Thank goodness."
There's something rather ruthless
about women.
Poor old Pop.
He came from Harrods
one snowy Christmas Eve.
And now he's gone to...
Well, who knows?
Now, about the canteen tunnel...
It's been lying dormant far too long.
That sentry's slap on the place
we were coming up to.
- We've abandoned it.
- Yes, I know.
It would be nice
if we could get that sentry shifted.
We'd better ask the Kommandant.
He might do it for Christmas.
Assuming we could get
the sentry shifted,
would I right in thinking
the tunnel could be opened up again?
Well, it could, sir.
How much longer
would it take you to finish it?
Oh, another 1 2 hours without snags.
Then I suggest you start
to work on it right away.
What about the sentry?
Not a hope in hell of shifting him.
There's always hope, I hope,
even in hell.
Well, I'll be...!
Franz Joseph!
I could be, when your make-up boys
start work on me.
- It seems a pity, doesn't it?
- What's that, sir?
That we can't keep this in the family.
Well, there's got to be liaison
between the allies, sir.
Yes, I know.
Who was the idiot
who brought that up?
Here he comes.
Dead on time, bless him.
Voice production good.
Strength five.
- We'll need a copy of that dialogue.
- I've got one, sir.
Good. I'll have to understand it,
even if the sentry doesn't.
How about that walk, sir?
Can you manage it?
- Are you trying to be funny?
- No, sir.
Gentlemen, this plan cannot succeed
unless that sentry's moved.
And we've got an idea
for moving him. It's this.
Meet Colonel Richmond, alias...
Franz Joseph!
Now, gentlemen, the plan is this.
Colonel Richmond, together with one
of our own men, disguised as a goon,
will get out of the dentist's room window,
march round the corner
and relieve the sentry.
He will be told
he's wanted in the guard house -
bad news from home,
or words to that effect.
I, myself, will be in the tunnel,
at the exit, with the turf cut,
ready to open up the moment
I get the signal the sentry's gone.
When everybody's out, I shall replace
the turf on my patent trap door,
come back through the tunnel,
replace the manhole,
and then, er...
then return to my quarters, damn it!
Now, gentlemen,
the members of the escape team -
Twelve is the maximum for safety
in the time at our disposal.
We propose three British, three Dutch,
three Poles and three French.
The escape will be set
for Friday 1 0th.
The British will provide Franz Joseph
and the sentry.
I promise you there will be
a perfect likeness on the night.
What do you think this is?
A maternity home?
What do you expect
with all my escape kit on underneath?
- Do you want me to carry a suitcase?
- You could have done better than that.
If anyone comes too close,
they'll nab the lot of you.
Oh, shut up!
Parade, attention!
- Come on, Pat, get a move on!
- Shhh!
Coming this way.
Fifteen yards, ten,
crossing the courtyard.
British dorm.
Coming this way.
Ten yards.
Hold it.
Well done, Pat.
There's nothing we can do now,
except wait.
- What's happening?
- It's Priem!
Going towards his office.
- Priem's gone into his office.
- Oh, doesn't that twit ever go to sleep?
There we are. You look marvellous,
absolutely wonderful.
- You'd fool anybody, even me.
- Shut up!
Right, gentlemen, stand by!
Five seconds.
Good God!
It's going to work!
Get back!
It must be clearly understood...
...that here in Colditz these
ridiculous attempts will not be tolerated.
All of you will undergo
one month of solitary confinement.
You, Colonel Richmond, will remain.
- Do you think Harry's bought it?
- Maybe.
You call yourself a British officer?
In Germany we would not tolerate
an officer like you.
You are not fit to hold your rank.
Not only do you fail to keep control
over your juniors -
that I expect -
but now you organise
this criminal attempt
and play the leading part yourself.
Have you no shame?
Have you no conscience?
No regrets about the officer
who has been shot?
Have you no heart?
Telefon, Herr Kommandant.
- Yes, he knows his job all right.
- He knows too much, if you ask me.
How could the Kommandant
have found out about the tunnel?
Someone informed.
- You mean a spy?
- What the hell else would I mean?
If there is an informer in this camp,
he is not French.
Nor is he Polish.
- What do you suggest he is, then?
- Shut up, Mac.
Aren't you forgetting a lot of people
in this camp talk too much?
- Yes, but listen, Pat, it's all...
- And that goes for you too!
You're still in check, old chap.
- Good morning, Herr Colonel.
- Yes, what do you want?
Herr Hauptmann Tyler...
is out of danger.
He has pain, but it is little.
- Thank you.
- It has been a pleasure.
Thank you, Hauptmann Priem.
But your friend Franz Joseph -
that was a very funny idea.
Good morning, Colonel.
I'm through with tunnels
dug by kind permission
of the Kommandant!
Oui, d'accord.
I'm also through
with being an escaping officer.
- Can't take it, eh?
- He's right.
I do not want any more co-operation.
Anyone may be an informer.
You, or you, or you!
Say that again,
I'll knock your block off!
Life's going to be great!
The Captain wishes to know
how the officers got into the canteen.
Don't quote me
but it wouldn't surprise me
if they came through the door.
The Captain says
the door was locked.
Have you ever read
"Alice In Wonderland"?
The Captain asks
why you ask him that.
Because Alice got
through small doors and keyholes
by eating something
which made her smaller.
Come on!
Scrag him, Peter. Come on!
Oh, wake up!
- Oh, hello, sir!
- Hello, Harry. How's the wound?
- Oh, much better, thank you, sir.
- Grand.
- How was solitary?
- Great fun.
I feel as if I've just come back to college
after measles in the sanatorium.
- Don't the other boys look horrible?
- There's a new intake.
Yes, so I see. A good lot?
They seem all right.
They've all tried at least twice.
Well, I'll have to catch up on my work.
What's going on?
Well, the Poles
have tried another tunnel.
Silly fellows.
The informer get them?
- Either he or the sound detectors.
- Sound detectors?
What with spies and sound detectors,
seems escaping really is verboten.
Oh, sir, that's defeatist talk.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pat?
- Yes, sir. Do you think it's on?
- It's worth a try.
Find Jimmy.
He's the smallest.
Harry, you lay on
those crazy guardsmen.
- Jump to it!
- Right, sir!
Dick, get La Tour quick.
We've got a blitz on.
Jimmy, jump to it.
You're going out.
- Where to?
- Switzerland, you clot!
Give Harry a nod.
He's in the courtyard.
Get an escape pack ready.
I'm on my way.
You'll find out.
Right, Peter.
Left, right, left, right, left...
Battalion, turn!
- Battalion number...
- Two!
- And you are number...
- Two!
Get an estimate for your haircut.
Move to the left.
In threes!
Left turn.
By the right.
Slow march!
Left, right, left, right...
Up... up... up...
Hold your head up.
Up... up... up...
- What do they say?
- Don't worry.
- What are they saying?
- Nothing, nothing. They will do it.
Why can't they make up
their minds?
- Look, will they or won't they?
- They will do it.
For the love of Mike,
what's happening?
Let Harry know we're coming.
Quiet! Silence!
Shh, quiet!
And... up... up... up...
- Put it down. Put it down!
- By the right... slow march.
Left... right... Ieft...
right... Ieft...
Right... turn.
Left... right... Ieft... right...
Mark... time!
Left... right... Ieft... right...
Get your knees up!
Up... up... up... up... up...
Come on, get 'em up, now!
Left... right... Ieft... right... Ieft...
Lift your knees up.
Left... Ieft...
Battalion present, sir.
Would you like to carry on?
- Thank you, Captain Tyler.
- Thank you, sir.
They're the guards. No soldier
in the world can drill like the guards.
Battalion... halt!
Turn to the left
and fall out in quick time!
I'm astounded it came off.
I never thought it would.
It would be nice if Jimmy wasn't missed
for a couple of days.
- That's been taken care of, sir.
- Good.
Do you feel strong enough to sample
one of Captain Tyler's drinks?
- Not half, sir!
- Good.
Special announcement.
Special privileges will be granted
to any prisoner volunteering to work
for the internal economy
of the German Reich.
Parade... dismiss!
Yesterday an attempt
at escape was made
by a Dutch officer
while on exercise.
This attempt was prevented
by the vigilance of those
who are your guards.
due to their forbearance,
the attempt did not result in tragedy.
But I warn you,
that may not always be the case.
In order to discourage
any further foolish efforts of this nature...
... I have decided
to withdraw certain privileges from you.
Special announcement.
Special privileges will be granted
to any prisoner volunteering to work
for the internal economy
of the German Reich.
Un moment!
He says he'd rather work
for 20 Germans than one Frenchman.
- What did he say?
- He says he's an undertaker.
Parade... dismiss!
- Did you see the Kommandant laugh?
- Yes, I did.
Bad for my morale.
could I have a word with you?
Good morning, Vandy. Certainly.
- Shall we become less conspicuous?
- Mm-hmm.
One would have thought La Tour
had had enough of solitary by now.
La Tour is French.
That's no reason
for behaving like a lunatic.
Colonel, any news of Jimmy?
- Nothing yet, thank God.
- Thank God.
Every day without news
raises my morale.
- I have some other news.
- Good news, I hope.
- The informer is caught.
- What?
- Who?
- I cannot yet find out.
I only know he's a Pole.
It was not the dogs that gave away
my friend yesterday. It was he.
He gave a signal to the guards
just as we were marching back.
The dirty spy!
Colonel, your country's not occupied
by the Germans like Poland and Holland.
What difference does that make?
In Poland and Holland we have families.
The Germans are well aware of the fact.
And so?
It seems this Polish officer
was in Leipzig hospital, ill,
just before he came here.
The Germans were very kind.
They arranged for a visit
from his wife and family.
When he got better,
they sent him here.
Work for us
or we liquidate your family?
That's it.
The Germans were very kind.
Was that the Kommandant's idea?
No, the Gestapo.
They are the kindest of the lot.
Well, thank God
for the English Channel.
- Sorry, Vandy.
- That's all right.
Do not pass this on.
It's none of our business.
The Poles court-martial him tonight.
Anyway, I deny all knowledge
of this affair.
Nevertheless, it is a fact.
Maybe so or not.
In any case I can do nothing about it.
The prisoners' lives
are your responsibility.
Then we think it better,
Herr Kommandant,
that you have the prisoner
transferred at once.
Impossible! You cannot come in here
dictating orders to me.
You realise
the prisoner of whom we speak
has been condemned to death?
Condemned to death?
By whom?
His own people.
The sentence
will be carried out tonight.
Lieutenant Karski
will be transferred forthwith.
Thank you, sir.
The old man was really quite amiable.
All the same,
I wouldn't spread it around, Pat.
Now you're on such intimate terms
with the Kommandant, sir,
do you think you could arrange
a transfer for me?
- Where to?
- England, sir.
I suppose it could be arranged.
There are one or two
I'd rather get rid of first, though.
For instance that gentleman who plays
the mouth organ outside my window.
I've no objection...
Of all the things I didn't want to see.
Fourteen days on the run.
He must have damn nearly made it.
- Sorry to see you back, Jimmy.
- Yeah!
- It was bad luck.
- Bad luck nothing!
It's all right getting out of here if you can.
That's a piece of cake.
Once the alarm's sounded
it's not so funny.
Home guards under every bush,
patrols on every road.
Your only hope's a train.
When you get within striking distance
of the frontier it's not funny either.
Check points on every station,
damned inquisitive sentries.
The whole thing's useless,
if you ask me.
Oh, well, now you've told me,
now I know.
What are you in solitary for?
I upset the Kommandant.
Well, that's a waste of time too.
It gets you nowhere.
Perhaps not. Or again, perhaps.
Run! Run, man, run!
Run, don't stop.
Oh, run.
Run, you crazy mad Frenchman, run!
Don't stop! Run!
He's done it!
You did it! You did it!
We've do something
with the British, Pat.
Morale's gone to hell,
and no wonder.
Jimmy Winslow coming back
with his tail between his legs
and that blasted Frenchman
making Colditz look as lethal
as a baby's play pen.
Do you realise
we're the laughing stock of the camp?
The Germans are saying
that life in England's so awful
we prefer to stay on in Germany.
We need ideas.
It isn't good enough to stuff
one wretched little fellow into a palliasse
as a prelude
to a month's solitary confinement.
We get ideas all right.
We get a dozen every day.
The trouble is
they just aren't the right ones.
It strikes me
that an escaping officer's main job
is turning down crazy schemes
cooked up by fellows
halfway round the bend.
Who the devil's that? Come in.
- Sorry, sir.
- Come in.
- What can I do for you?
- I wanted a word with you.
- But if you're busy, it'll keep.
- That's all right.
- See you later, Pat.
- Right, sir.
You haven't got an escape on,
have you, sir?
No, I wish we had.
Well, what's the trouble?
- I've got a wonderful idea, sir.
- I see.
- What about?
- For an escape. Can't fail.
None of them can until they do.
- Have you told Pat?
- No, sir.
Why not?
Well, that's what
I came to see you about, sir.
I want to take Pat with me.
As long as he's escaping officer I can't.
I see.
- And you want to know if I'll relieve him?
- Yes, sir.
Well, why not?
Damn it, it's not escape officers
we're short of, it's ideas.
Now, run along and tell Pat all about it.
If he approves, I'll let him go.
Thank you, sir.
And if you've got room for another one,
we'll look for a new SBO.
No? All right, I'll stay behind.
I'm far too old if it's acrobatics...
if it is acrobatics.
If it isn't, it doesn't stand a hope.
- Seen Pat Reid anywhere?
- He's round the back.
Pat, I've got a wonderful idea.
Well, I guessed that much.
Don't bother to tell me.
I'm only the escape officer.
I only went to see the old man
to ask if I could take you with me.
- Some hope.
- Well, he said yes.
Just what I thought he'd say...
- What?
- Provided you approved.
Did he now? Right...
- Grab that pot and paint a cloud on that.
- What sort of a cloud?
A thunder cloud. It's Ascot week.
All right, spill the beans.
We go out
dressed as two German officers.
- Kesselring and Rommel?
- Oh, don't be an arse.
What do we do then?
Grow wings?
No, we go out through the gates,
old man.
You're out of your mind!
Every half-wit in this camp
has cooked that gimmick up.
Some of them have even tried it.
And every single one of them
has been given first prize
for it being the most senseless,
stupid, idiotic scheme
that ever came out
of a backward chicken's skull.
- Let me get a word in edgeways...
- Oh, raising my hopes
and coming out
with that dead haddock!
- My idea's different. It's simple.
- Hmm, it's in character.
Listen, Pat.
I know the idea's got a beard.
I know it's been tried here
and in other camps and failed.
But I know why.
The chaps dressed as German officers
have come from places
that make them look suspicious.
It's not faulty uniforms.
It's not language difficulties
that's got them caught before.
It's coming on the Jerry sentries
from the wrong direction.
One's got to come
from somewhere normal,
somewhere where a German officer
would come from.
- Why not try their mess?
- That's it. That's my idea.
- I'll show you what I mean.
- Are you feeling all right?
It will have to be done at night.
The uniforms will stand up to it better.
And just after the sentry's come on duty.
Then he won't know how many
Herrenvolk are in there swilling Pilsner.
Best time will be about nine o'clock.
When they're going back
to their billets in the village.
That's it.
Ruddy regimental type!
Well, Pat, what about it?
Well, I'll buy that end of it.
But just one minor detail.
How do we get there?
- Easy. From here.
- From here?
Listen Pat. The German mess
is on the first floor here.
The floor above that
is used as officers' quarters.
The floor above that
isn't used at all.
And the floor above that
is the theatre, this theatre.
That means that
from the disused store room under here
there's bound to be a staircase
leading past the mess
right down to that slice of strength
through joy standing over there.
Pat, do you realise that if we could look
under this stage three floors down
we'd see a lot of little Jerry subalterns,
all reading "La Vie Parisienne"?
Well, Pat?
All clear.
Right. All clear.
That's the third
Dick's knocked off this month.
Right, Mac.
Down you go, Pat.
Robin, we'll take you and Richard next.
My wife's gone to the West lndies.
Your wife's gone to the West lndies?
- That's right.
- Jamaica?
No, she went of her own accord.
Oh, I'm all for the old classics.
Thank heaven I shan't be here
to hear the rest of it.
Look out!
Priem and his ferrets!
- I wouldn't count on that.
- We'd better go from the beginning.
- All right, you start.
- You'll hear us, Mac.
- My wife's gone to the West lndies.
- Really?
- Your wife's gone to the West lndies?
- That's right.
No, she went of her own accord.
Do you think that's funny,
Hauptmann Priem?
- Germans have no sense of humour.
- You're lucky.
You are acting in the concert,
- No.
- Ach, no.
I have been thinking
it would be hard to find a role to fit you.
Have you now?
What part are you playing
in these activities?
- Oh, I'm prompter, scene shifter.
- Ah, that I understand.
It's a fine stage, well built.
Most solid.
This is our first scene.
Ascot Racecourse.
- You know, horses and all that.
- Mm-hmm.
And after that we move to Paris,
to a salon in the Montmartre district,
Iots of floozies
and Mademoiselle from Armentieres.
Oh, it's filthy down there.
- Your uniform will get in an awful mess.
- You are so thoughtful.
If it is filthy,
I will have it cleaned for you.
You are right, there is much dirt.
- Good morning, gentlemen.
- Good morning.
For Pete's sake, come on out.
I've just had kittens.
- What's the matter?
- Priem's been here.
Tough customer.
- How are things going, Pat?
- First class, sir.
Good. When do you hope to be ready?
- Three days' time. Night of the concert.
- Is that planned or a coincidence?
We thought the racket in the theatre
might cover us.
Good idea.
- How are the uniforms?
- The best we've ever made, sir.
The trouble is, when Mac tried his own,
it couldn't take it.
- I'm not surprised.
- But we're having it let out.
Can't blame the tailors.
He's outsize.
You're telling me!
Look at him now.
Who was it
said our ancestors were apes?
Come on, let's get on with the game.
Why does he have to draw attention
to himself?
I'd like to see him
when he's finished playing.
Send him up, will you, please, Pat?
Come on, Mac, let him have it!
Come in!
Oh, come in, Mac.
I've just been going over the details
with Pat Reid.
It seems that
everything is coming along splendidly.
Yes, sir.
- Uniforms... How are they getting on?
- Oh, all right, sir.
There was a bit of a flap yesterday.
The Jerrys confiscated my cap.
- It was the only thing that fitted.
- I see.
Much trouble
with the rest of the uniform?
Oh, no, sir.
Lots of letting out.
You know, that sort of thing.
You're going out with Pat,
Jimmy and the Dutchman.
What's his name?
Lutyens, isn't it?
Yes, sir, we're going to be chatting
about his girlfriend in Hamburg.
We've got it all rehearsed.
- You're going to be chatting?
- No, sir.
Lutyens is.
We're going to be nodding and listening.
I see.
Look, Mac,
you're not popular in here, you know.
Or don't you know?
You can't expect me
to get along with everybody.
No, no.
I mean among the Germans.
Oh, the Germans.
No, of course not.
I hate their guts,
and they hate mine.
- Yes, that's the trouble.
- I'll get by, sir.
You say you'll get by.
I say you won't.
I'd even go so far as this.
You won't even get by the sentry
at the bottom of the steps.
There isn't a German officer in Colditz
near your height.
The other fellows seem quite happy.
- How do you know?
- If they weren't they'd have said so.
No, Mac, they wouldn't.
It's your idea,
and they're your guests.
It's up to them to make the best of it,
whatever the shortcomings,
because you thought of it.
I'm an interfering old fool, Mac,
but what I see is this.
It's a damn good idea
doomed to failure
because the chap who thought of it
has grown up too high. I'm sorry, Mac.
What you're telling me
is to stand down.
I'm not telling you.
I'm asking you to think about it.
I'm damned if I'll stand down!
If one of the sentries recognises me,
it's too bad for him.
And you.
And anyone escaping with you.
Don't forget that, Mac.
It would be a pity if a good idea like this
was messed up at the first attempt
and other people
couldn't use it afterwards.
Oh, to hell with afterwards!
It's my idea.
Yes, it's your idea,
but I think mine's a better one.
Glad you joined?
- What's the matter?
- Hmm? What?
Oh, nothing, Pat.
It's going to work, you clot.
- I feel it in my bones.
- Good.
- What's the matter, Mac?
- Oh, confound it! Nothing.
Can't a fellow get some rest?
Oh, sorry, Pat. It's this bed.
It's too short, or I'm too long.
Come on, chaps, pipe down.
Let's get some sleep.
Hello, Mac.
- What's the matter with him?
- Colditz blues, I should think.
Oh, that.
I shall get them too,
if we don't win this game.
- Come on, lads.
- Come on, Pat, pass it!
Halt! Halt!
- Don't move!
- Stay where you are!
- Stay where you are!
- Don't move, Mac, stay there.
It's unbelievable.
I had to stand there and watch it.
Three days...
- Leave it, Bert.
- Right, sir.
Three days before the take-off.
Everything set,
then he had to kill himself.
It's too damned silly to be true.
I simply can't believe it.
So he never told you?
Told me what?
That he was standing down.
Mac standing down?
I don't believe it.
It's true, Pat.
He wasn't going with you.
He never said so.
We were talking
in the dormitory last night.
He'd have told me!
Pat, he wasn't going with you.
He was giving up his place.
You've got my word for it.
But how can you expect me...?
I mean, sir, Mac!
He'd never have thought
of standing down.
He didn't think of it. I did.
As you know, I had him in here
after stoolball yesterday.
We had a talk.
I did the talking mostly.
I was very unpleasant to him.
I told him straight
that he was too big
and every sentry in the camp
was gunning for him,
that he hadn't a hope of getting past
the guards, and he agreed.
I recommended him
to think of standing down.
There the discussion ended.
And his life as well.
The fact that he was dead
hadn't escaped me, Pat.
That sentry didn't kill him.
Watch your tongue. Remember
who you're talking to or get out.
We knew he was too big,
but it was his idea.
We were prepared to take the risk.
I wasn't though,
you muddle-headed idiot.
Why can't you understand
I'm not an individual like you,
free to act
according to my own desires.
I'm a senior British officer.
I wish I wasn't, but I am.
As such my unfortunate responsibility
is to see that British officers in here
don't act like fools
and lose their lives by doing so.
By taking Mac with you we might
have lost half a dozen lives, not one.
The man who thought of it.
Do you think I did it for a lark?
Do you think I like the job?
Do you think
I wanted Mac to pack it in?
I did it just because
this plan cannot afford to fail.
Less than ever now that he's dead.
Morale was low enough before.
It's at rock bottom now.
But if this plan can work,
then we can use it time and time again.
It's got to work and you're the man
who's got to make it work.
Me? If you think
I'm having anything to do with it...
You're going, Pat.
And you're taking Harry Taylor
out with you in place of Mac.
I'm not going.
Cold feet? Afraid the guards
are getting trigger happy?
- No!
- What then?
It's Mac.
Yes, Mac.
Hold on to him, his plan.
It's a damn good plan.
A foolproof plan.
A plan he indirectly gave his life for.
And a plan you're going to scrap.
Do it for him.
And do one thing for me, succeed.
Then what I did is justified.
But if you fail...
Don't fail.
Right, come on.
Keep together.
Try not to look
like an escaping party.
All clear.
Can you see Priem anywhere?
I don't trust that man,
except when I can see him.
Here's the Kommandant.
Your seat's down the front.
- Programme, sir?
- Thank you.
Chocolates in the interval for Madam?
- Danke.
- Your hat, sir.
You will interpret for me
when the humour is profound?
I belong to Colditz,
dear old Colditz Schloss
There's nothing the matter with Colditz
if someone's discovered lost
It's only a dirty old prison camp
As the Kommandant
knows quite well
If I get to the coast
I will post you a letter
And Colditz can go to hell
La-la, la-la-la-la
I belong to Colditz
Dear old Colditz Schloss
There's nothing the matter with Colditz
if someone's discovered lost
It's only a dirty old prison camp
As the Kommandant
knows quite well
If I got to the coast,
I will post you a letter
And Colditz can go to hell
La-la, la-la-la-la
I belong to Colditz
Dear old Oflag One
There's nothing the matter with Colditz
If you make a clean home run
It's only a dirty old prison camp
As the Kommandant here can see
But a little disorder
Then over the border
And Colditz belongs to me
We don't want to see you back here.
Get home in one piece!
Come on.
This is it, Lutyens.
Your girl from Hamburg, quick.
Underneath the arches
I dream my dreams away
Underneath the arches
On cobblestones I lay...
Do you know
how to make a Venetian blind?
I haven't the remotest idea.
How do you make a Venetian blind?
- Simple.
- Really?
Poke his eyes out.
Happy when the daylight
Comes creeping
Heralding the dawn
Sleeping when it's raining...
- What's that on your shoulder?
- This?
- Yes.
- It's a Greek urn.
What's a Greek urn?
Oh, I don't know.
About 30 bob a week, I think.
Trains rattling by above
Pavement is my pillow...
- My wife's gone to the West lndies.
- The West lndies?
- That's right.
- Jamaica?
No, she went of her own accord.
Underneath the arches
I dream my dreams away
If he comes in here I'll brain him!
Look out! Duck down!
Come on, Agatha, old girl.
Bed for you!
All British
in the courtyard for appel!
Oh, not again.
All British
in the courtyard immediately for appel.
Unless there is immediate silence
I will give the order to open fire!
I warn you,
I will give the order to open fire.
I warn you,
I will give the order to open fire.
Who gave the order to open fire?
Don't do that, Harry.
It only aggravates the Germans.
I'm sorry, sir.
I beg your pardon?
The interpreter, please.
Quiet down there.
I'm trying to get some sleep.
What extraordinary behaviour!
Colonel, call your men to order
or there will be bloodshed.
If you please, Colonel.
Parade, attention!
Be so kind as to ask your men
to return to their quarters immediately.
Stand at ease.
Before I call on you
to return to your quarters,
I have a piece of news for you,
A postcard from two aunts of mine.
I had intended
to keep it until the morning,
but now that we find ourselves
gathered together,
this seems as good an opportunity
as any to give it to you.
"Dearest Guy,
"we are both very well
and enjoying the refreshing Swiss air.
"How we wish you could be with us.
"Your loving aunts, Gert and Daisy."
They are perhaps better known to you
as Pat Reid and Jimmy Winslow.
They have made our first home run.
I have a feeling that it won't be the last.
Good night and thank you.
Carry on, please,
Lieutenant Cartwright.
Good night, sir.