Albert E. Scape

Anthony Steel in Albert R.N. (1953)

At the prisoner of war camp Marlag 'O' the men know that allied forces are approaching but they still feel that it is their duty to constantly cause the enemy problems by trying to escape. Lieutenant Geoffrey Ainsworth (Anthony Steel) realises that one of their issues is the head counts as every time one of them escapes the guards soon realise when the numbers don't add up so he comes up with a plan to make a paper mache dummy. Whilst initially his idea seems to work when one escapee makes it clear before his absence is noted news makes it back that the Gestapo got him. It leads to speculation that there maybe a snitch within the prison walls whilst Ainsworth has a personal dilemma as to whether he wants to escape or not.

In "Albert R.N." one of the men asks "How do you spell monotony?". Sadly whilst "Albert R.N." is not a bad movie the word monotony springs to mind to describe it because when compared to other prisoner of war movies it isn't the most exciting. Instead of getting riveting action we get a lot of talking as prisoners express their emotions and doubts in particular Ainsworth as he is no hurry to leave prison because the entire time he has been there he was been corresponding with a woman he has never met and if he was free he would feel obliged to meet her. It shouldn't be a huge surprise as "Albert R.N." is a movie adaptation of a play and being dialogue heavy is expected but it doesn't make it enthralling.

It doesn't mean that "Albert R.N." is visually boring, there are some entertaining scenes such as the initial escape using Albert and the sets are solid although I do wonder whether director Lewis Gilbert used a set from another prisoner of war movie as parts of it looked incredibly familiar. But I am struggling to find anything in this WWII prisoner of war movie which really stands out from the crowd and whilst the paper mache dummy element is okay the rest of the movie is ordinary.

What this all boils down to is that "Albert R.N." ends up just another WWII prisoner of war movie which delivers lots of scenes similar to those you will have seen in other movies from the prisoners mocking the guards to escape attempts. But with "Albert R.N." having its roots in a stage play it is a dialogue heavy movie which whilst it might appeal to some did little for me.

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