Stalag 17 ★★★★½

Billy WIlder was the bravest, most versatile director of his time and maybe all-time. A darkly funny, shocking, tragic, heroic and (ultimately) uplifting, story of brotherhood, oppression and deception. It's not the masterpiece that The Apartment and Sunset Boulevard are, but it still demands to be seen by audiences today.

To take material that is this serious, and this potentially explosive in the wrong hands, and craft something that is very funny at times, but never feels cheap or mishandled. It takes a serious craftsman like Wilder to build a film this efficient. It still works on nearly every single level (like most of Wilder's work). I encourage anyone who hasn't caught up with Billy Wilder's other work to do so. Another classic film to add to his resume.

Standouts:
-William Holden: Apparently he won the Oscar for his performance as the sharp-tongued Sefton.
-Otto Preminger: The strangely lovable Oberst von Scherbach. A Nazi general overseeing this particular barracks in Stalag 17.
-Robert Strauss: An eccentric, if perfectly calibrated POW that goes by the name of Animal. He's there mostly for comedic relief, but in his few dramatic scenes, gives this character true dramatic weight. Easily could've been written off and isn't.