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Gala screening for 75th anniversary of The Great Escape
24 March 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the real-life POW escape during World War II at the Luftwaffe-run Stalag Luft III prison in then German-occupied Poland. In honour of this, historian Dan Snow will host a commemorative evening at the Eventim Apollo in London and the event will be streamed live to Saffron Screen from 6pm.
Britain’s Got Talent finalists The D-Day Darlings will perform classics from their album I’ll Remember You, such as The White Cliffs of Dover and Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree, plus a specially created arrangement of the film’s iconic theme tune. The famous Triumph TR6 motorcycle, ridden by Steve McQueen in the dramatic fence-jump scene, will make a rare appearance on stage.
Dan Snow will hear from veterans of the Second World War’s most daring escape and will explore the history and science behind the operation with renowned historian Paul Beaver and Dr Hugh Hunt of the University of Cambridge. Audiences will discover how Squadron Leader Roger ‘Big X’ Bushell’s ingenious plan inspired one of the most famous war films of all time.
John Sturges’ dramatisation of the true story of a group of British, American and Canadian POWs who successfully escaped from Stalag Luft III in Upper Silesia in March 1944 is arguably the best World War II adventure film ever made. A host of big-name stars meshes beautifully in this meticulous recreation of the legendary escape. Although this is a film about courage, Sturges wisely takes a low-key approach, leavened with humour, rather than allowing the cast to indulge in macho antics.
This anniversary event is presented by the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Force’s leading welfare charity, as part of commemorations marking its centenary year, and in partnership with History Hit, Dan Snow’s online channel for history lovers.
Saffron Screen is also delighted to have two authentic WW2 motorbikes on display outside the cinema and will be holding a collection for Essex Air Ambulance, after the film.