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The One That Got Away 1957 DVD - Hardy Krüger / Colin Gordon

Luftwaffe fighter pilot Franz von Werra is shot down during the Battle of Britain and captured. At the POW reception centre, Air Defence Intelligence, located at Trent Park in Cockfosters, near Barnet in Hertfordshire, he wagers with his RAF interrogator that he will escape within six months.

Initially, von Werra is sent to No 1 prisoner-of-war camp Grizedale Hall in the Furness area of Lancashire. His first escape involves dropping over a wall he is lying on during a group walk. He is spotted by some land army girls in the field but their frantic waving to the guards is mistaken for fraternisation. Only when the count is run at the end and it registers 23 instead of 24 do they realise he is missing. The CO retraces their route on horseback but it is too late, and the horse shoes give advances warning of his approach, allowing von Werra to hide. He heads into the hills. Von Werra wears his leather flight jacket donning his Iron Cross during this. This results in an intense manhunt by troops and police. He has the cheek to tauntingly wave to them from a hilltop. He lies flat in the mud on an open moor in heavy rain, and they almost miss him, but being the over cover around, he is located.

En route by rail to his new camp at Swanwick, he studies a map of Derbyshire hanging in the station waiting room.

Subsequently, von Werra is sent to a more secure POW camp (based on the Hayes Conference Centre) near Swanwick, Derbyshire. During a German air raid, he and four others escape through a tunnel. The others pair up, but von Werra continues alone. Reaching Codnor Park railway station, he impersonates a Dutch pilot and claims his Wellington bomber had crashed while on a secret mission. The station master telephones the police who are to then take him to the nearest airfield, RAF Hucknall. Von Werra tricks the duty officer into sending a car. However, the police arrive first, and with much bravado he delays them until the RAF car arrives. He gets to the airfield and spots a Hawker Hurricane. When his story starts to fray, von Werra creeps away and tries to steal an experimental Hawker Hurricane, getting as far as sitting and starting the engine before being caught.

Along with many other POWs, von Werra is then sent by ship to Canada. The ship arrives at Halifax, Nova Scotia. On the train ride across the country, while the guards are distracted, he escapes near Smiths Falls, Ontario, by jumping from a window. Making his way south hitching rides, von Werra finds the St Lawrence River not as frozen solid as he has been led to believe, He then steals a rowboat and pushes it over the ice until he reaches the free-flowing section. He falls asleep in the drifting boat. He reaches the American side almost frozen to death. He is told he is in Ogdensburg, where he is arrested despite claiming asylum in the then still-neutral United States.

Back in England the RAF interrogator receives a postcard from von Werra, featuring a photograph of the Statue of Liberty, informing him that he has lost his bet.

The epilogue states:

Despite the efforts of the Canadian Government to obtain his return, and of the United States Authorities to hold him, Von Werra crossed the border into Mexico. Travelling by way of Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Spain, he reached Berlin on 18 April 1941.

On October 25th of the same year, while on patrol, his plane was seen to dive into the sea. No trace of Von Werra was found.


Hardy Krüger as Franz von Werra
Michael Goodliffe as RAF interrogator Captain Henderson Bell
Colin Gordon as Army interrogator
Alec McCowen as duty officer, Hucknall
Terence Alexander as RAF intelligence officer
Jack Gwillim as Commandant, Grizedale
Andrew Faulds as Lieutenant, Grizedale
Julian Somers as booking clerk
Harry Lockart as German prisoner
Robert Crewdson as German prisoner
George Mikell as German prisoner
George Roubicek as German prisoner
John Van Eyssen as German prisoner
Frederick Jaeger as German prisoner
Richard Marner as German prisoner
Paul Hansard as German prisoner
Edward Cast as duty driver, Hucknall (uncredited)
Cyril Chamberlain as Sergeant 'Later' (uncredited)
Reed De Rouen as Canadian truck driver (uncredited)
Michael Golden as First detective (uncredited)
Glyn Houston as Harry, the aircraft fitter working on the Hurricane fighter (uncredited)
Stratford Johns as Second detective (uncredited)
Charles Morgan as Workshop manager, Hucknall (uncredited)
Al Mulock as American patrolman at Ogdensburg (uncredited)
Michael Ripper as Corporal of group with cook (uncredited)
Anthony Sagar as Cook who captures von Werra in Kent (uncredited)
Norman Rossington as Sergeant, Swanwick (uncredited)
Ben Williams as Policeman, Hucknall (uncredited)
Frank Williams as Station porter (uncredited)

Runtime: 111 Minutes

Product Code:
Stock Code: 999