Escape to Athena

1979

Action / Adventure / Comedy / War

195
IMDb Rating 5.7 10 4

Synopsis


Downloaded times
March 15, 2021

Cast

Claudia Cardinale as Catarina Bastiani
Roger Moore as Ulisse
Stefanie Powers as Louise Metcalf
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.07 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
125 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.99 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
125 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JamesHitchcock 4 / 10 / 10

Below Average War Adventure

Films about the Second World War were highly popular in the British cinema throughout the fifties and sixties, but by the time "Escape to Athena" was made at the end of the seventies the genre was beginning to run out of steam. The film could be described as a sort of "Guns of Navarone" meets "Colditz". Like the former, it is set on a German-occupied Greek island, and like the latter it concerns the attempts of a group of Allied prisoners to escape from a prisoner of war camp. The prisoners, however, are not merely concerned with escaping. They also plan to make a raid on a nearby monastery in order to loot a collection of priceless Byzantine golden plates. The local Greek Resistance are also interested in the monastery, because the Nazis are using it as a base for the V2 rockets with which they hope to defeat any Allied attempt to liberate the island. One unusual thing about the film is that it features a "good German", although both the noun and the adjective need to be given a fairly wide definition. Major Otto Hecht, the commandant of the prison camp, is Viennese by birth, and therefore only German by virtue of the 1938 Anschluss between Germany and Austria. In civilian life he was an antique dealer, and he is not above using his military position to loot antiquities which he ships to relatives in Switzerland, hoping to sell them at a profit after the war. In wartime, however, embezzlement of this nature is a minor offence compared with the other crimes of the Nazis, and the comparatively liberal Hecht is repelled by the brutality of some of his comrades such as the fanatical SS Major Volkmann (played by Anthony Valentine who had played a very similar role in the early seventies British TV serial "Colditz"), and has no difficulties about throwing his lot in with the prisoners he is supposedly guarding. The other characters are something of a mixed bunch. We have David Niven going through the motions as an upper-class English archaeologist, Telly Savalas as a Resistance leader, Richard Roundtree as a black American POW and Sonny Bono as an Italian marooned on the wrong side after his country switched sides in the war. The war film is normally a male-dominated genre, although this one has rather more glamour than normal, with Claudia Cardinale as a Greek prostitute and Stefanie Powers as a swimmer turned actress (presumably based on Esther Williams), one of two American entertainers captured by the Germans, the other being Elliott Gould's Jewish comedian. It was a surprise to see Roger Moore playing something other than an Englishman, although it must be said that he does not make a convincing German. This film came halfway through his reign as 007, and he sounds much the same as he did when playing James Bond, making only the most perfunctory attempt at a foreign accent. As in some of his less successful Bond films he just seems content to stroll through the film without putting any great effort. To be fair, however, the same could be said of most of the rest of the cast. One wonders if they signed up merely in order to spend a few months in the Greek sunshine. Niven, for example, too old in his late sixties to be taking a leading role in an action film like this, seems even more laid-back than Moore. If the cast seem uninspired, that is possibly because they are dealing with a very uninspiring script. The film's occasional attempts to blend humour with action (mostly involving Gould's character) tend to fall flat. "Escape to Athena" is very much an average war adventure, or even a below average war adventure, with little to set it apart from all the other indifferent war films that had appeared on both sides of the Atlantic over the preceding few decades. 4/10

Reviewed by Big S-2 7 / 10 / 10

Promises a lot but delivers little

I only recently got to see this movie and – on the basis of the all-start cast and the still pictures that I had seen – I was expecting a well-made and slightly offbeat war film. I was very disappointed. This movie can't make up its mind whether it wants to be a comedy or an action / adventure yarn, and in the end it largely fails to deliver on either front. Roger Moore is hopelessly miscast as the antiques-loving German (or rather Austrian) PoW camp commandant, and a number of the other characters such as Sonny Bono's Italian chef, Michael Sheard's oafish German sergeant and Telly Savalas' Greek resistance leader are extremely caricature-ish. Even Richard Rowntree's PoW character comes across merely as Shaft in a GI uniform (coming out with expressions like `he's one cool cat'). The character Charlie (played by Elliot Gould) is a civilian USO entertainer whose plane was shot down over the Mediterranean, with him and his female colleague being captured and placed in the PoW camp. However, when these two are introduced early on, we see them looking like a pair of well-heeled American holidaymakers. Both are immaculately groomed and dressed, and they certainly don't look like two people who have just been fished out of the Mediterranean after their plane has been shot out of the sky - the woman is even lugging all her suitcases behind her!!! I assume that we're supposed to believe that they too would have survived the shootdown without even a scuff mark and then floated up from the plane wreckage to be conveniently retrieved. I have to admit that initially I found the Charlie character fairly amusing and even laughed at some of his one-liners. But ultimately he became more annoying than funny. The action scenes later on were also fairly predictable and boring. I got the impression that the makers of this movie were trying to combine elements from those classic war films `The Guns Of Navarone', `The Great Escape' and `Kelly's Heroes' (we even had David Niven who appeared in the former and Telly Savalas from the latter). But this movie is not a classic in any way, shape or form. It oozes mediocrity in all areas. On the plus side, the Greek islands location is wonderful and the camera work is on the whole pretty good. And the beautiful Claudia Cardinale graces any movie that she's in. On balance though I'd have to give this film just 3½ out of 10. Not the worst war film I've ever seen, but definitely `below average' and – given the amount of big names in it – the end result is a massive disappointment.

Reviewed by patriciahammond 7 / 10 / 10

Come on guys; it was pretty enjoyable!!

This film came free with today's paper, so perhaps I'm in an indulgent frame of mind. However, much as I admire the wit shown by IMDb members in panning this film, I have to disagree with them. Escape to Athena is a very enjoyable romp indeed, with all sorts of excellent stylistic touches, some really gratifying explosions, humour that is a trifle dated but not so bad if you lean back and accept it, and an interesting plot. I don't know why people require a movie to go all the way in one direction, ie be edge-of-the-seat suspense, or cataclysmic tragedy, or roll-in-the-aisles hilarious, or weepie romantic etc. etc. Why can't it be a bit of everything? I think we're far too used to the extremes that have become fashionable of late. Forget Daniel Day-Lewis bursting a vein, if just for one evening. You'll feel better for it. However, Telly really can't dance. That I must agree with.

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