The McKenzie Break 1970


Something of a one-off, director Lamont Johnson’s WWII film has a surprising premise; it’s a POW story, but the prisoners are Germans, help in a camp in Scotland. Brian Keith is Captain Jack Connor, brought in to suss out how and when the break will happen; his opposite number is Willi Schlueter (Helmut Griem), and a cat and mouse game ensues. Based on a book by Sidney Shelley called The Bowmanville Break, the story has been moves from Canada to Scotland, and then filmed in Ireland, so some sense of place has been lost, but Keith, Ian Hendry and a cast of TV veterans ensure that Johnson’s film has a strong sense of the grimy nature of internment. Rarely seen, The McKenzie Break is a welcome addition to the POW cycle.



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