Stalag 17 script
Stalag 17 (1953)
Synopsis: One night in 1944 in a German POW camp housing American airmen, two prisoners try to escape the compound and are quickly discovered and shot dead. Among the remaining men, suspicion grows that one of their own is a spy for the Germans. All eyes fall on Sgt. Sefton (William Holden) who everybody knows frequently makes exchanges with German guards for small luxuries. To protect himself from a mob of his enraged fellow inmates, Sgt. Sefton resolves to find the true traitor within their midst.


This is the strategic spot of the story. In the five tiers

of bunks live our major characters.

In the upper bunk lies HOFFY. Little fellow. Plenty of

authority. The Barrack Chief. His eyes are wide open. He is

studying his wristwatch, the phosphorescent numerals shining

in the dark.

In the other bunks lie the others, wide awake, tense:

DUKE, big bellyacher.

TRIZ, six-foot-three, ninety-eight pounds.

PRICE, the barrack Security Chief. Quiet, touch of class.

MANFREDI, no cover, fully dressed.

HARRY, bug-eyed, cocky.

BLONDIE, fair-skinned, boyish.

JOHNSON, fully dressed like Manfredi. Scared.

SEFTON, casual. In his mouth a cold cigar butt.

Hoffy again. Still staring at the wristwatch. This is the

moment. He lifts the metal dogtags off his chest and jiggles

them. This is the signal.

Duke instantly slides out of the bunk, grabs up his blanket

and moves toward the window. A searchlight beam sweeps across.

Duke goes flush on the ground. The light passes on. Duke

gets up again and starts hanging the blanket over the window.

Now the others go into action, silently, efficiently. Except

for Manfredi and Johnson they are all in long winter

underwear, some in slacks and socks.

As for Sefton, he is lying in his bunk just watching them.

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Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder was an Austrian-born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist and journalist, whose career spanned more than fifty years and sixty films. more…

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