- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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an escape into...
The world of (American) propaganda in 1940,founded in Ethel Vance's book "Escape",with a screenplay by Arch Oboler & Marguerite Roberts,was perhaps more true than (then) realized.Director Mervyn Le Roy seems to have had an editing problem with the plot,as Robert Taylor (Mark),began a search for his German born mother (Emmy Ritter),as played by the actress known as 'Nazinova'.Le Roy's direction does however finds its target, as excellent acting from the likes of Norma Shearer,Conrad Veidt,Felix Bessart,Phillip Dorn,Bonita Granville & others-make this film a worthwhile journey.(These acting types are sadly missing in generations later-for the most part.) As set in the Bavarian Alps,full of nazi ,(real nazi),a smuggled letter out of a concentration camp,found (Mark) being warned to 'go home' more than a few times."I know nothing',was to be another term thrown at him.Yes,Mark's mission turned out to be more than difficult,as the complex plot gets going!What makes this film GREAT,is more so the interaction between Norma Shearer(the American born countess) & her high society (nazi general) patron,as played by Conrad Veidt.As she is seen putting her hand on his knee,or clutching a telephone,the created DRAMA is indeed real-even scary. As considered a later film for the still beautiful movie queen Shearer,this film was,at time of release,as lesser role for her.Upon viewing this (many times),& comparing it with (many) of her earlier flicks,I find this film one of her best,if not her best?Or maybe it's just that her scenes with Veidt get to me everytime?
- kevin sellers
The plot is absurd, featuring as it does a kindly concentration camp doctor (yes, you read that right) who induces a death like coma in an inmate patient etc etc and the dialogue is absurder, featuring as it does characters who tend to talk in pro and anti Nazi slogans, and Nazimova has to be one of the worst scenery chewers I've ever seen, (fortunately, she's in a coffin or a coma throughout most of the film) and yet, I have to confess that I enjoyed this movie. Old pro director Mervin LeRoy seems to understand that if he slackens the pace the viewer will begin to dwell on the stupid story, so he keeps things moving at a steady clip and I found myself hooked about a fourth of the way through. But there are other reasons, besides the pacing, to enjoy this film. Except for Nazimova, the acting's pretty good, with Norma Shearer especially believable as a woman both attracted and repelled by German culture, circa 1940, (although you gotta believe that if this film had been made even one year later she'd be as flag waving as Bob Taylor.) And the movie does capture the combination of fear, admiration, and dislike that thoughtful Germans had for Hitler and Co. Also, certain scenes, like Taylor's interrogation by the "political police" (i.e. the SS) and the final scene between Conrad Veidt and Shearer, with its anticipation of "Casablanca," ( i.e. Veidt dying, just before he can make that incriminating phone call, and Shearer, like Ingrid Bergman, renouncing her true love for political reality) are well nigh perfect. So let's give it a solid B.
Escape is excellent!
I loved this movie. "Escape" is a hidden gem, directed to perfection by Mervyn LeRoy with great performances by Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Conrad Veidt and Alla Nazimova. The supporting cast is superb. Highly recommend this anti-Nazi drama.
- Mike McCrann
I love this film and especially Norma Shearer in such a change of pace role. It is hard to fathom how MGM and Shearer both agreed that she would play the mistress of a high ranking Nazi. And she is so good in the role and I don't think she ever looked better on screen. Her simple hair style and great outfits suited her (no pun intended) perfectly. And Conrad Veidt is fantastic too. You actually like the character - Nazi or not. Robert Taylor was good and the supporting cast tremendous. How often did one get to see Nazimova on screen and Natasha Lytess who plays the student who gives up her passport later became the first acting guru to Marilyn Monroe! Escape is wonderful and I just love the final scene between Shearer and Veidt. Next to The Mortal Storm my fave anti Nazi movie.
Escape Back To A Better Time
- Rick Ellis
I saw this on TCM, I very much enjoyed it sitting on the edge of my seat as how our hero would get hismother out of Germany, I also liked the sets this is what I always look for in every movie I watch.
A wonderful movie with a great story line. As usual Norma Shearer's performance was outstanding.
First rate Hollywood WWII fare
- Jay Dee
Norma Shearer and Robert Taylor take on the Nazis in this WWII melodrama. Shearer is understated and beautiful in this her last good film. Taylor embodies the classic American values of a son devouted to his mother. Conrad Veidt is excellent as the slithery General. This movie was the was released the same year as he played the villanous Jaffar in "The Theif of Bagdad."
- John Pratt
When I first started watching this film I wondered how I had never seen or heard of it before. It gets the full MGM prestige treatment and looks great. By the end all I could do was roll my eyes though I couldn't stop watching. It has more holes than the Albert Hall. How does Robert Taylor get back to town? A Drug that induces a comma like death state was far fetched when Shakespeare used it. One can imagine the head office memo, "We need a 'Casablanca' type script for Norma Shearer". The not so subtle S&M subtext between Shearer and Conrad Viedt pushes the plot into camp heaven. Oh, and did I mention Nazimova plays the mother who uses the passport of a teenager to get out of the country. The same Nazimova who was too old to play the Salome in 1923. I can't wait to see it again.
What a great movie !!
I didn't see it all, because it was on so late, but this movie is suspenseful and just wonderfully made. It is true entertainment and wonderful and poignant acting. Please show it again
- richard hegedorn
i have always loved this film and norma shearer. those who have said she wasn't much of an actress need look no further. she's stunning and no actress ever used her hands to better effect. the ending is a classic.