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.