Viewfinder Film Club

Stalag 17

August 11, 2020

Director Billy Wilder's 1953 comedy-drama Stalag 17 tells the story of a group of American airmen held in a German WWII POW camp who come to suspect that one of their number is an informant. Adapted by Wilder and Edwin Blum from the Broadway play of the same name, the film left the FC marveling at its director's mastery of blocking, and questioning the logistics of shooting chronologically. Tommy, who leads this episode's discussion, ties in an on-point reference to Paul Schrader, and Jon makes a brief but impassioned appeal on behalf of Burt Lancaster's nomination for the 1954 Best Actor Oscar — the award that ultimately went to William Holden for his portrayal of Stalag 17's Sgt. J.J. Sefton.

 

Erratum: Toward the end of the episode, there's a fleeting mention of Animal House when, in fact, Animal Farm was intended. Forgive us, dear listeners — these conversations mess with our minds, too. (While we're on the topic, though, consider the possibilities: What if Animal House actually is a World War II allegory?)

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