Danger Within (1959, Richard Todd, Bernard Lee)

Danger Within (1959, Richard Todd, Bernard Lee)

Prisoner-of-war escape movies have held a constant fascination for British filmmakers. Many of the best took their inspiration from real-life experiences and incidents. This highly enjoyable example of the genre, however, derives from the novel Death in Captivity by thriller writer Michael Gilbert. It ingeniously combines the ‘traditional’ elements of the prisoner-of-war films with those of the equally ‘traditional’ whodunit. The result is an effective mixture of suspense and comedy, resulting from both the depiction of the prisoners’ various efforts to break out of a British Officers’ prisoner-of-war camp in Northern Italy in 1943 and their efforts to track down the traitor in their midst who is betraying their plans to their captors.

The excellent screenplay is by actor and director-to-be Bryan Forbes and Frank Harvey and provides a strong narrative and good characterisation as well as entertainingly observing the minutiae of life in a POW camp. This observation is complemented by Don Chaffey’s sharp direction. The casting, too, is impeccable with a fine roster of British actors and character performers on view, led by Richard Todd, Bernard Lee, Michael Wilding and Richard Attenborough.

US Title: Breakout

crew details

Director: Don Chaffey
Writers: Bryan Forbes, Frank Harvey, based on the novel Death in Captivity by Michael Gilbert

production info

  • Year of Release: 1959
  • Country: UK
  • Language: English
  • Runtime: 101 minutes

Richard Todd

Lt. Col. David Baird, M.C.

Bernard Lee

Lt. Col. Huxley

Michael Wilding

Major Charles Marquand

Richard Attenborough

Capt. 'Bunter' Phillips

Dennis Price

Capt. Rupert Callender

Donald Houston

Capt. Roger Byfold

William Franklyn

Capt. Tony Long

Vincent Ball

Capt. Pat Foster

Peter Arne

Capitano Benucci

Peter Jones

Capt. Alfred Piker

Ronnie Stevens

Lt. Meynell, 'The Sewer Rat'

Andrew Faulds

Lt. Comdr. 'Dopey' Gibbon, R.N.

Steve Norbert

Lt. Pierre Dessin

Cyril Shaps

Lt. Cyriakos Coutoules