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Case Study - The Great Escape

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  • 1. Kim Goldspink As Media Coursework 12 LEE Mrs Purser Case Study: The Great Escape Institutions: Name of thriller film: The Great Escape (1963) Director: John Sturges (Born January 3, 1910 & Died aged 82 on August 18, 1992) was an American film director. Some of Sturges work includes Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963) and Ice Station Zebra (1968). He started his career as an editor. In the Second World War he directed documentaries and training films for the US Army Air Corps. He then went on to begin his career as a mainstream directorial career began in 1946 with The Man Who Dared, the first of many B-movies. He made imaginative use of the widescreen CinemaScope format by placing Spencer Tracy alone against a vast desert panorama in the suspense film Bad Day at Black Rock for which he received a Best Director Oscar nomination in 1955. He was awarded the Golden Boot Award in 1992 for his lifetime contribution to Westerns. Production Company: • Mirisch Corporation (The Mirisch Company) Release date: The Great Escape was released on 4 July 1963 in the USA Country of Making: Bavaria Filmstudios, Geiselgasteig, Grünwald, Bavaria, Germany Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, History, Thriller, War Additional Details: It has a running time of 172 minutes COMPELTE THIS Awards: Nominated for Oscar. 3 wins & 4 nominations. One of the wins was, Best Actor (Steve McQueen), they also came second in the Golden Laurel for Top Action Performance (Steve McQueen)
  • 2. Kim Goldspink As Media Coursework 12 LEE Mrs Purser Audience: Intended Target Audience: I think that The Great Escape is aimed at most ages because younger people such as children would like this film because they like playing fighting games and also because they like action. Other age groups that I that think the film would appeal to are the older generation because of some of the famous people who play the characters, such as Steve McQueen (hilts) and Richard Attenborough (big X). It also could be because they like the plot of the story which is based on the true events of the actual ‘Great Escape’ in which 50 British P.O.W. (prison of war) escaped from their prison camp only to be hunted down and shot by the Germans. The film is a classic example of an Action Thriller in which most people can enjoy watching it time and time again. It is a good story with tension, in that you don’t know who will escape and who will be caught. This film is set during the war; this would appeal to the older generation because they can relate to the era. these are just some of the possibilities that draw people in to watch this film. Over all I think the film is aimed at the ages of: • under 18s to 20 • Late 20s to early 40s. You can watch it time and time again and not get board of the ‘Cooler King’ Audience Reception: As you can see on the bottom of the graph that The Great Escape is enjoyed by lots of people as it has a rating of 8.4 which I thought was good for a classic. From what I have said in the indented audience you can see that under 18s enjoy the film and they have an average of 9.1, also people aged 18-29 have an average score of 8.5 and as I said in the intended audience that people in the their later 20s would enjoy this classic. But there is a drop in audience size when the graph reaches people from the ages 30-44 as these age groups don’t seem to enjoy it as much as it drops 0.2 of a rating. People aged 45+ rating goes up
  • 3. Kim Goldspink As Media Coursework 12 LEE Mrs Purser 0.1 shows that they like it for some what reason for example of they like the characters. Over all it appeals to most and they enjoyed watching the film. One person who enjoye the film is KEVMC from Rugby, U.K. they gave The Great Escape 9/10. Their title of the review they done was ‘A Genuine Timeless Classic’ you can see just from the title they enjoyed it by calling it a ‘Timeless Classic’. In their review KEVMC goes on how it assumed it’s classic status etc. They then say ‘Director John Sturges was at the height of his creative powers and he keeps a firm grip on the proceedings’ saying how well the film was directed and it wasn’t just the actors, and that it was a combined effort. Towards the end of their review they add ‘This is one of those films that I can happily watch time and time again’ and added at the end ‘I’m just never tire of it.’ However the film doesn’t appeal to all and one of them people is Alex da Silva from the United Kingdom. Their rating for the film was 1/10. Their review title ‘It doesn't provide the greatness it could have’ sets then tune of the rest of the review. Their first few word in the first line they wrote was ‘The Great Escape is a blatant and obvious’ this show they were not to impressed with the film and that it was just like every other war movie with being obvious, being stereotypical. They also use words such as tedious, untimely, never ending and pointless this also shows how unimpressed they were watching this film. KEVMC who thought Director John Sturges work was at the height of his creativity, Alex da Silva disagrees with statement and thinks the total opposite saying “Director John Sturges tries to layer all this substance that doesn't work and by the end you feel like he's committed a common and severe crime that you wonder and ask yourselves- why put me through this?” that line being one of their last in the review it shows that basically they though it was a waste of time. Technology: Audience Reception: when the great escape was first realised back in 1963 there was no such thing as ‘Wikipedia’ or movie review websites. All the reviews were printed in magazines. Since then technology has improved dramatically and you can now find reviews of the great escape on the internet. The great escape was filmed before computers came alone to enhance the performance and quality of a film; this is in some ways good as the quality of the film makes you believe that it was actually filmed during world war two. The Poster that were used to advertise the great escape where drawn and then printed. This shows the basic technology that was about at the time of filming.
  • 4. Kim Goldspink As Media Coursework 12 LEE Mrs Purser As time went on the technology got better as did the advertising. The advertising pictures such as the front cover of the video and DVD boxes were enhanced on a computer as was the actual film. Audiences Access: when the great escape was first realised the only way to see the movie was to go and cue up to watch it at the cinema. Since then the movie has been put onto video and DVD. This makes the movie more available to other people such as younger generations that were not even born when this film came out, to watch this timeless classic again and again. Purchasing the dvd of the great escape has become so easy because it is so available in shops and online shops such as ‘Amazon’ Code/Forms & Conventions of the thriller genre: Conventions: at the start of the film there is a long introduction in which the credits are played in front of a backing of a German convoy heading towards the camp. This has the backing music that is the theme song for the great escape. The writing of the credits is ni red this could mean danger is approaching for the POWs or just because red stands out from the background at the end of the film you get a list of names of the main characters and there nicknames i.e. ‘Steve McQueen as hilts ‘the cooler king’’ this just lets you see your favourite characters one last time before the movie finishes.
  • 5. Kim Goldspink As Media Coursework 12 LEE Mrs Purser Settings: most of the film is set in the actual camp, whether it is in huts or in the tunnel, it is still in the camp. After the escape the settings then change to a number of different scenes. The final half of the movie is split into different characters escape routs. Roger and Mac use a train, and so therefore their escape is set around railways and station. Hilts’ escape involves a motorcycle and therefore his settings are more of the countryside. This type of scene would represent freedom as the land is open and wide. When hilts reaches the border he is fenced in. this represents a challenge for him, to overcome and his freedom depends on it. However he only makes the first fence before being caught. Sound: The Digetic material in the great escape would be scenes such as when one of the characters is trying to escape through the wire, the audience and the character can hear the sound of dogs barking in the distance and drawing hearer. This gives a tense atmosphere between the audience and the character. Another scene that uses Diegetic material would be when Mac is being chased by the Germans through a street. The audience and Mac can hear the screams of the German soldiers, this again is used for tension building in the audience. The non Digetic material that is used in the great escape would be when the theme song is played when ever hilts (Steve McQueen) is put in the cooler. This builds a mood with the audience. Another non Digetic scene would be the motorcycle chase; dramatic music is played to build tension and excitement within the audience. Representation: Representation of particular social groups: when the great escape was filmed not many people worried about social groups and therefore this film makes all Germans out to be ‘bad guys’. This was because the film was made to honour the lives of the 50 prisons that were shot by the Nazis after escaping from there prisoner of war camp. Cultures ideology: this film doesn’t really have a message but more of a true story to tell for the men that lost their lives during the war escaping from pow camps and can’t tell it themselves. This film was created to insure that younger generation will not forget what these people did and why they did it.
  • 6. Kim Goldspink As Media Coursework 12 LEE Mrs Purser Use of stereotypes of subversion of stereotypes: when it comes to the great escape there is nothing more stereotypical than the British and the Germans. The British are all gentlemanly and the Germans are always the bad guys. This film is bias towards the British and American because as I said before it is dedicated the 50 British soldiers that lost there lives when they were shot and killed after being captured These all add up to create a sense of dislike in the audience towards the Germans and like toward the British and Americans.