The Real Great Escape

Posted: April 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

I recently watched a documentary which impressed me greatly, BBC Storyville’s ”The Real Great Escape” . There was no ground-breaking research or shock discovery, no, this had something far more impressive- beautiful cinematography. From the music (always barely heard) to the juxtaposition of old army footage, film clips and recent interviews, this programme effectively highlighted the human tragedy which lies behind the film from which it’s name comes. It quickly becomes apparent that this is not a light-hearted piece, the opening music fades and we hear the recording of a British airman who finds himself just behind enemy lines. We presume this man to be Roger himself, but this fact is actually immaterial as he successfully shows the plight of our POWs. There is something so British about the under-statement of the man’s description which serves to emphasise the horror of the situation in which he found himself. We can particularly relate to him as before we learn much else the scene changes and we are shown the man behind the myth. Roger despite his genius was a very ordinary member of his class and generation. He was the family legend, the shunned lover, the terrific dandy, the loyal friend, the brave man.  By showing a national hero warts and all, Storyville allows us to relate to him as a person, which adds power to this inspirational tale. I don’t want to say much more and ruin it for you-  I strongly urge all my readers to watch this while its still available as not all Storyville documentaries make it to DVD. Bravo BBC, Bravo.


-Anya Fitzpatrick


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