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Wooden Horse, The

Wooden Horse, The(1950)

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teaser Wooden Horse, The (1950)

(Synopsis) 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 gymnastics 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.

According to the review by Freddie Gaffney at BFI Screenonline, The Wooden Horse (1950) was "Filmed on location in Germany, in a specially reconstructed POW Camp (the existing ones were still holding displaced persons at this point), the filming suffered from bad weather, indecision, and delays. Principal shooting commenced before a definitive ending was decided on, and, with the film significantly over budget, Lee had left the film before producer Ian Dalrymple shot the existing ending himself. The film's significance lies in its early (in relation to the real events and to the war) re-telling of the story, and the blunt, matter-of-fact way it represents of those involved. The central characters are not shown as heroes, but rather as dispirited airmen simply following their duty to escape and cause disruption to the enemy. Indeed there is, at times, something rather comic about their adventures, something Lee does not stint from facing. An honesty of characterisation and minimalist acting prevent the film from slipping into stereotype and jingoism.

Producer: Ian Dalrymple
Director: Jack Lee
Screenplay: Eric Williams (novel)
Cinematography: C. Pennington-Richards
Art Direction: William Kellner
Music: Clifton Parker
Film Editing: Peter Seabourne, John Seabourne Snr.
Cast: Leo Genn (Peter), David Tomlinson (Phil), Anthony Steel (John), David Greene (Bennett), Peter Burton (Nigel), Patrick Waddington (Senior British Officer), Michael Goodliffe (Robbie), Anthony Dawson (Pomfret), Bryan Forbes (Paul), Dan Cunningham (David)

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