Review: ‘The McKenzie Break’

The McKenzie Break is a taut, classically crafted World War II POW escape drama with an original twist. This time it is the Germans, a corps of crack U-boat officers, led by Helmut Griem, breaking out of a camp in Scotland.

The McKenzie Break is a taut, classically crafted World War II POW escape drama with an original twist. This time it is the Germans, a corps of crack U-boat officers, led by Helmut Griem, breaking out of a camp in Scotland.

An imaginative, intelligent script (from a novel by Sidney Shelley), crackling direction by Lamont Johnson, and strong, three-dimension portrayals by Griem and Brian Keith, as a British intelligence officer trying to outguess and out-maneuver the Nazi, transform the film into a tense personal duel that maintains its suspense until the final frames.

Griem is hardly the stereotype brutal Nazi, but nevertheless he is a model Hitler youth risen to young U-boat captain. He runs the prison like a youth camp, keeping his British captors aat bay with riots and demonstrations planned to the split second. It is all a coverup, and training, for the escape.

The McKenzie Break

Production

United Artists. Director Lamont Johnson; Producer Jules Levy, Arthur Gardner, Arnold Laven; Screenplay William Norton, Brian McKay; Camera Michael Reed; Editor Tom Rolf; Music Riz Ortolani; Art Director Leon Ericksen

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1970. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Brian Keith Helmut Griem Ian Hendry Patrick O'Connell Caroline Mortimer Horst Janson
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