29 November 2015 | trimmerb1234
The real star is the dummy
There were quite a few British POW films in the '50's, some better than others. For some reason, the real ingenuity of escape attempts were glossed over, what so occupied the POWs attentions and on which depended their happiness and their lives: how uniforms, documents, stamps, photographs, tools etc could be made by with apparently none of what was necessary to make them. The films were thus human stories which though lacked much of what had been so crucial to the men involved. Here though the heart of the film is Albert RN - the life-like full size dummy used to take the place of a prisoner - and the virtuoso performances of its summoning out of the air in seconds, and its disassembly and disappearance again in seconds. Also along with the dummy itself, the way it was deployed, the plans for avoiding discovery and the on the spot quick thinking needed if the unexpected happened (when perhaps a dozen POW had to wordlessly devise and implement a plan in the presence of the German guards). And Albert R.N. was not just brought out to deceive the guards on the day of the escape but every day for a week to delay discovery of the escaped prisoner.
The other parts of the film are not quite up to par. Jack Warner did not convince physically as a serving naval officer, Anton Differing did his nasty Nazi once again (though who did it better?) but the marvel of Albert RN the dummy raised the bar and shone a light on the ingenuity, daring and skill of those who devised, built and operated him.