This video essay published by an author under the pseudonym A Thousand Words analyzes the various tonal characteristics of the classic 1963 film “The Great Escape” that are expressed by the film’s acting, score, and cinematography. At the beginning of the piece, the author notes that “The Great Escape” is a film that one can watch a hundred times and still find things they didnt see before because of its tonal intricacy. Every scene that shows some level of triumph is matched with moments of despair and failure, which repeated over and over again creates an incredibly unique experience every time you watch it. He also discusses the simple classic nature of the film and how its tone makes up a huge part of its longevity and popularity. As he talks about this, he times his complex voiceover with some of the most classic moments that any Steve McQueen fan can identify with and recognize.
Cinematography, music, and acting-style are all part of this author’s style of showing how an image can equate to a thousand words; consider his name A Thousand Words. Just as the empathy of the audience shifts early and often in this film, so does the editing as a character moves from one room to another. The author makes note of the director’s consistent use of the medium shot, including all characters involved in a scene, thus emphasizing the egalitarian, “Everyone Goes” aspect of the film. This is significant because in the film, the goal of the escape is to get 250 men out of the POW camp. Even the film’s music becomes part of the identity of individual characters and often changes in scenes where two characters interact. Emotional responses of characters also line up with the editing and music uses. For example, whenever characters are left alone their expressions often change from one of a tough, forced smile to moments of internal crisis and yearning for freedom.
While the Video is mainly just a montage of the best scenes from the movie, the author does compartmentalize his video to some extent to match up with the arguments and examples in his voiceover. Because I am a huge fan of this film I found this video to be nostalgic and interesting, but if one hasnt seen the film, its definitely not worth the watch.