Maybe a 3 1/2 out of 5 star movie for me after not seeing Stalag 17 for many years. As entertaining as the comedic elements were, Animal & Harry laid it on a bit thick at times, especially with that Betty Grable scene towards the end. I loved the dramatic end of the story and William Holden was superb. Still one of Wilder's better movies, just a little goofy at times for me.
Yet again another example how well Wilder balances drama and comedy. The goofiness of Harry and Animal (that Betty Grable dance scene is hilarious) and the excitement of trying to find the traitor are two opposite ends of the spectrum, but the overall tone of the movie is never awkward or faltering.
Billy Wilder puts the right amount of comedy and drama to make what could be a depressing POW movie, into an almost feel good! Great cast and writing. William Holden was worthy of his Oscar, but also worthy of a Sunset Blvd. Oscar as well!
Funny, funny movie in a POW camp. This was before MASH made the situation of war funny, but it led to its own TV show too. The men have to keep themselves entertained, Holden plays another POW cynic (he does it well), and there is a mystery thrown in to find a traitor in the camp.
Tell you what, it has politics that are assimilable by 90% of Americans, and a script that is not much better than that. The camerawork is unremarquable and the dialogue grating at time with the same tricks used to the seam. Yet I am rather happy to have watched it, and I am the picky kind, so you might want to give it a chance.