Billy Wilder and Edwin Blum
Based on a play by
Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski
BARBED WIRE AGAINST A WINTRY NIGHT SKY
Beyond it, more barbed wire. Ice has formed on the strands.
Now and then searchlight beams crisscross the pattern. As
the CAMERA SLOWLY MOVES along the double fence, SUPERIMPOSE -
THE CREDIT TITLES
THE GREAT CAMP - (NIGHT)
A wide expanse of barren ground checkered with clusters of
barracks, sectioned off into compounds by double barbed-wire
fences, nine feet high. Searchlights sweep over the barracks,
the muddy ground with the snow patches, and the pine forest
beyond the barbed-wire. The searchlights come from the goon
towers -- little guard houses elevated on poles --
interspersed along the fences.
(with an occasional
I don't know about you, but it always
make me sore when I see those war
pictures -- all about flying leather-
necks and submarine patrols and
frogmen and guerillas in the
Philippines. I don't want to take
anything away from those guys, but
what gets me is that there never was
a movie about P.O.W.s -- about
prisoners of war. Now my name is
Clarence Harvey Cook, -- they call
me Cookie. I was shot down over
Magdeburg, Germany back in 43. That's
why I stammer a little once in a
while, especially when I get excited
and I always get excited when I talk
about Stalag 17. I spent two and a
half years in Stalag 17. Stalag is
the Kraut word for prison camp and
number 17 was somewhere near Krems
on the Danube. There were about forty
thousand P.O.W.s there, if...
In the foreground the big gate. Above it a sign: STALAG 17-
D. On both sides of the gate German guards in heavy coats,
rifles slung over their shoulders. They stomp about in
enormous boots with high cork soles to keep warm. Beyond the
gate about eight low barracks form a U about the Appell-
ground. They are primitive one-story wooden structures all
set up on stilts about two feet high. From one of the
buildings -- the Administration Building -- flies the
swastika. In between the barracks are the wash latrines. A
road runs through the slushy compound to the compound beyond.
ONE OF THE GOON TOWERS
A couple of German guards up there, one at the machine gun,
the other working the searchlight.
you bothered to count the Russians
and the Poles and the Czechs. In our
Compound there were about six hundred
and thirty of us -- all American
airmen, all shot down by the Krauts --
radio operators, gunners and engineers --
all sergeants. Now you put six hundred
and thirty sergeants together and
boinnnnng! -- you've got yourself a
situation! There was more fireworks
shooting off around that place! Take
for instance the story about the spy
we had in our barrack. It was about
a week before Christmas in '44 and
two of our guys -- Manfredi and
Johnson to be exact -- were just
getting set to blow the joint...
A German guard plodding along inside the barbed wire with
four mean mastiffs straining at the leash. The light from
the goon tower grazes over him.
ONE OF THE BARRACKS
The light sweeps slowly over the long shack. Catches the
sign: BARACKE 4. Catches one of the doors, locked from outside
with a heavy wooden bar.
Bunks on both sides. Tripledecked bunks. In the bunks seventy-
five American P.O.W.s huddled in blankets. In between the
bunks, in the little space left to them, crude tables, an
iron stove, makeshift stools. Every inch crowded with whatever
they have. Up above and all the way down the barrack hangs
their wash. Over all of it, the heavy stench of seventy-five
men cooped up. From outside through the broken, patched
windows the searchlight sweeps over the bunks. The men are
all asleep. Or are they?
THE FAR END OF THE BARRACK
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.
Blondie hangs a blanket over the window. Triz swings one
over the clothesline to shield off their end of the barrack.
Hoffy and Price light a couple of handmade lamps: margarine
in tin cans with the wick stuck inside.
Manfredi and Johnson are putting on their leather jackets.
Harry tries to awaken STOSH in the bunk above him. The wooden
boards around Stosh's bunk are plastered with Betty Grable
cheesecake. Harry pokes him. Stosh does not respond. Harry
interlocks his fingers, puts them close to Stosh's ears and
cracks them in a SHARP SALVO. Stosh opens his eyes, dazed.
Harry pats Stosh's cheek.
(in a whisper)
Get up, Animal! Betty Grable's on
Stosh gives him a dirty look. Gets out of the bunk. He and
Harry move to the little iron stove. Triz is already
dismantling the pipe above the stove. Harry and Stosh lift
the stove and start inching it to one side.
Hoffy moving to a large bucket of water. It is a trick job:
a bucket within a bucket. He lifts out the shallow inner
part with the water. Hidden underneath are some civilian
clothes. He takes them out, crosses to Manfredi and Johnson.
(All the dialogue in this scene in whispers, of course.)
Here's your civilian clothes, boys.
Duke takes the clothes from Hoffy and starts stuffing them
into a small barrack bag.
Bury your Army outfits before you
get out of the forest.
The compass is the top button on
your pants, Johnson.
Sefton, propped up in his bunk, watches the proceedings with
a pitying little smile. He eyes wander to Harry and Stosh.
By now they have moved the stove some four feet to the side,
and start carefully lifting some sawed-off planks out of the
Blondie is standing watch by the blanket-covered window,
Price slips a wire hook down into the crack between a bunk
and the wall, fishes out a sheaf of papers and walks to
Manfredi and Johnson.
Anybody asks for your papers, you're
He hands them the papers.
Your map -- your Kraut money -- Swiss
Now, let's hear it once more, boys.
We've been over it a hundred times.
Let's hear it again.
We stick to the forest going west
until we hit the Danube --
Then follow the Danube up to Linz --
In Linz we hop a barge and go all
the way to Ulm --
From OFF come the WEIRD SOUNDS of an ocarina being played.
It's JOEY in his bunk playing the sweet potato. He's nuts
Stop it, Joey -- go to sleep!
Joey hides the ocarina behind his back, afraid they may take
Go on. You're in Ulm.
Once in Ulm we lie low until night,
then take a train to Friedrichshafen.
Then once in Friedrichshafen we steal
a rowboat, get some fishing tackle,
and start drifting across the lake --
always south -- until we hit the
other side -- Switzerland.
Sefton has gotten out of his bunk, and is picking up the
Bingo. Once in Switzerland, just
give out with a big yodel so we'll
know you're there. It's a breeze,
He lights his cigar butt with the margarine lamp. Manfredi
and Johnson shoot him a nervous glance.
Stay out of it, Sefton.
Just one question. Did you calculate
Harry and Stosh have by now removed the loose planks off the
floor. A small black hole gapes below them.
Hoffy, Price, Manfredi and Johnson move toward the trap door,
Johnson carrying the barrack bag. Hoffy looks at his watch.
You got ten minutes to get through
the tunnel. That'll bring you out
just when the Jerries are changing
(Turns to window)
Blondie gives him the high sign.
(to Manfredi and
Okay, boys -- peel off.
There are handshakes, goodbyes and good-lucks.
When you get going on those broads,
think of me!
Animal! Animal! Aren't you ashamed
of yourself? A couple of guys are
trying to escape and you're thinking
of broads. Broads?
He does a take.
We'll miss you, you cruds.
He turns and climbs down through the trap. Before Manfredi
follows him, he turns away, goes down on his knee, crosses
UNDERNEATH BARRACK 4 - (NIGHT)
Johnson has already landed on the ground. Manfredi slips
down. They look around and start crawling off in the direction
of the latrine.
INT. BARRACK 4 - (SHOOTING UP THROUGH TRAP)
Stosh is peering after them, his head hanging down through
the trap from above. Beyond him in the barrack, Hoffy, Price
and Duke bend over Stosh, waiting for developments.
UNDERNEATH BARRACK 4 - (NIGHT)
From Stosh's point of view: Manfredi and Johnson have now
reached the end of the barrack and are crawling into the
compound towards the wash latrine some fifteen feet away. A
searchlight sweeps dangerously towards them.
Stosh pulls up from the trap, his eyes closed, his fingers
in his ears. He doesn't want to see or hear the two out there
get shot. The others stand petrified. No shots, no screams.
So Stosh bends down into the trap again.
EXT. BARRACK 4 - (NIGHT)
Manfredi and Johnson just manage to fling themselves back
under the barrack as the searchlight sweeps past. Then, they
get on their feet again and dash to the wash latrine -- just
ahead of another searchlight from the other direction.
INT. WASH LATRINE - (NIGHT)
A primitive, roofless structure, with wooden partitions
shielding it from the outside. Above, a water tank with pipes
running down to spigots over a trough. Under the trough, a
wooden lattice to stand on.
Manfredi and Johnson have reached first base. They stand
breathless. Then Manfredi picks up the lattice, leans it
against the trough, and lifts a dirt-covered trap leading
into the tunnel. Johnson has tied the barrack bag to his own
ankle. They HEAR BARKING. Freeze.
Leading the mastiffs past the wash latrine. One of the
mastiffs is BARKING. He seems to smell something, but the
other dogs pull him along.
INT. WASH LATRINE - (NIGHT)
Manfredi and Johnson wait until the BARKING fades in the
distance. Johnson, the barrack bag tied to his ankle, jumps
down into the narrow vertical shaft. Manfredi follows. He
pulls the trap shut over his head in such a way that the
lattice falls into place on top of it.
A shaft about three feet square and five feet deep leads
into a narrow, crudely shored-up tunnel. Johnson and Manfredi
light their Zippo lighters and start worming their way through
the tunnel, Johnson leading the way, the barrack bag dragging
from his ankle.
Harry and Stosh moving the stove back into place. Hoffy fixing
up the trick bucket. Price pacing up and down. Sefton leaning
against a bunk, smoking the cigar.
They ought to be under the barbed
(still covering the
Looks good outside.
I hope they hit the Danube before
They got a good chance. This is the
longest night of the year.
I bet you they make it to
Friedrichshafen all right.
I bet they get all the way to
And I bet they don't even get out of
They all look at him.
Now what kind of a crack is that?
No crack. Two packs of cigarettes
say they don't get out of the forest.
That's enough, Sefton. Crawl back
into your sack.
He'd make book on his own mother
getting hit by a truck!
Sefton takes two packs of cigarettes from his pocket and
throws them on the table.
Go on, Sefton -- butt out!
Wait a minute, Hoffy -- I want to
back those kids. I'll cover ten of
He starts shaking cigarettes out of his pack onto the table.
I'll take five.
Put me down for ten, you louse.
(throwing two packs
on the table)
I'll call the whole pot.
Whatever you say.
Hey, Cookie -- get me some more
COOKIE, a chipmunk of a kid, scrambles down from his bunk --
the one above Sefton's. Drags out a footlocker from under
Sefton's bunk. The footlocker is chained to the bunk-post.
Cookie opens it, starts taking cigarettes out.
About twelve guys are around Sefton by now, making their
Here's two and a half.
Cookie comes over with a carton.
(With a stammer)
W-w-will that do or do you want some
He rips open the carton.
Speak up, boys. Any more sports in
Johnson and Manfredi crawling on, by the light of their
Zippos. Johnson dragging the bag behind him. They are dripping
with perspiration. From above comes a little shower of loose
Johnson stops as he comes to the end of the tunnel. There is
another shaft leading up. He picks up a rusty can and starts
digging at the earth above.
20. THE OPEN GROUND ABOVE - (NIGHT)
In the pine forest some thirty feet outside the barbed wire.
From the goon towers, the lights sweep over the camp and
over the edge of the forest.
The tin can thrusts through the ground as Johnson digs into
the open. Then, when the opening is wide enough, he climbs
out, his face covered with sweat and dirt. He helps Manfredi
out. They lie on the ground for a moment, exhausted. Then
Johnson starts untieing the bag from his ankle.
He rises. There is a SHARP BURST of MACHINE GUN FIRE. Manfredi
falls instantly. Johnson, not knowing where the gunfire is
coming from, tries to turn and run, the bag dragging behind
From a hillock about thirty feet off a MACHINE GUN, manned
by three German guards, is blasting away.
A light from one of the goon towers picks up Johnson, running.
The machine gun gets him, ripping his chest. He spins and
crumples to the ground. The light swings to Manfredi.
Bleeding, he tries to crawl back to the safety of the tunnel.
There is another BURST of FIRE --
The men have all run to the window and look out.
All except Sefton and Cookie. They stand at the table where
the cigarettes are. And in back of them: Joey, sitting in
his bunk, comprehending nothing.
There is another BURST of FIRE. Then all is silent. The men
turn back into the room, sickened.
What slipped up, Hoffy?
Don't ask me. Price was elected
Okay, Security -- what happened?
I wish I knew. We had everything
figured out. To the last detail.
Maybe the Krauts knew about that
tunnel all the time!
Shut up, Animal!
Maybe they were layin' for 'em out
He gives Cookie a sign. Cookie pulls the front of his shirt
out of his pants and holds it out against the edge of the
table. Sefton sweeps the mass of cigarettes into Cookie's
Hold it, Sefton. So we heard some
shots -- so who says they didn't get
Anybody here wanna double their bet?
No answer. He nods to Cookie again. Cookie carries the
cigarettes to their bunks. Sefton follows him, kicks open
the footlocker. Cookie dumps the loot in.
The men are looking at them. Stosh sees a cigarette on the
floor which Cookie has dropped. He picks it up and tosses it
into Sefton's footlocker viciously.
END OF SEQUENCE "A"
THE CAMP - DAWN
Another miserable day has begun. The barracks loom in the
From the Administration Building -- the one with the swastika --
come a dozen German guards, Lugers hanging from their belts.
They spread out and cross the muddy compound toward the
barracks, BLOWING WHISTLES shrilly. They lift the wooden
bars off the doors and go inside.
FELDWEBEL SCHULZ has arrived at Barrack 4. He is an enormous
man, about fifty-five. His cauliflower ears make a good
vegetable for his pig-knuckle face. He removes the bar, opens
the door, stands there WHISTLING like a madman, enters.
Funny thing about those Krauts. They
hated the sight of us yet they
couldn't wait to look at us again.
Every morning -- at six on the dot --
they'd have the Appell -- that's
roll call to you. Each barrack had
its own alarm clock. Our alarm clock
was Johann Sebastian Schulz. I
understand the Krauts had a composer
way back with the Johann Sebastian
in it -- but I can tell you one thing:
Schulz was no composer. He was a
Schweinehund. Oh, Mother -- was he
ever a lousy Schweinehund!
Schulz is marching down the barrack, beating the bunks with
Aufstehen, gentlemen! Appell! Raus!
Men start sliding out of their bunks. Others roll over in
their sacks, groaning.
You must get up for roll call! Raus,
raus, gentlemen! Everybody aufstehen!
We heard you, Schulz!
And good morning to you!
Aw, break it off!
Why don't you take that whistle and
Tell the Kommandant I've got
Shut up, Schulz -- you're talking to
sergeants of the United States Air
Look at this chilblain. Ain't it a
Raus! Raus! Aufstehen!
Whacking the bunks, Schulz has reached our end of barrack.
Hoffy and Price are getting into their clothes.
Come on, sack rats -- cut the bitchin'
and get up!
Duke, Triz and Blondie start climbing out, yawning and
Say, Schulz -- you guys had machine
gun practice last night?
(throwing up his hands)
Ach, terrible! Such foolish boys.
Such nice boys. I'd better not talk
about it. It makes me sick to my
You killed them, huh? Both of them?
Such nice boys! It makes me sick to --
Don't wear it out!
Schulz moves to Joey. Joey is sitting in his bunk, TOOTLING
on his ocarina. Schulz raps the sweet potato with his stick.
Outside! You, too! Put away the
Joey hides the sweet potato, staring at Schulz, frightened.
Schulz jerks him off the bunk.
Los, los. Dummkopf!
Lay off, Schulz. He's got a sickness.
Sometimes I think he is fooling us
with that crazy business.
Yeah? How would you like to see the
guts of nine pals splattered all
over your plane?
C'mon Joey -- don't be afraid.
He helps him up and starts putting clothes on him.
Schultz has approached bunk with Harry and Stosh. He pokes
Harry with the stick.
Aufstehen, gentlemen! Please! You do
not want to stay in bed on such a
beautiful morning we are having today!
Say, Schulz --
Sprechen Sie deutsch?
Then droppen Sie dead!
(splitting his sides)
Ja -- ja! Droppen Sie dead! Always
mit the jokes! Droppen Sie dead!
He pokes Stosh with the stick.
He moves on.
Harry bends over Stosh, shaking him.
Get up, Animal. Come on!
Stosh doesn't budge. Harry again gives him a knuckle-cracking
salvo. Stosh opens his eyes automatically.
Good morning, Animal! What'll it be
for breakfast? Scrambled eggs with
little sausages? Bacon and eggs sunny-
side up? Griddle cakes? A waffle?
Stop it, Harry!
Coffee? Milk? Or how about a little
(grabbing him by the
Why do you do this to me every
(with sadistic speed)
Hamburger and onions! Strawberry
shortcake! Gefillte fish! Banana
split! French fried potatoes! Chicken
a la king!
The last items are coming out with a gurgling SOUND as Stosh
tightens the grip on Harry's neck.
I'll kill you, Harry -- so help me!
Let go, Animal! It's roll call! Hitler
wants to see you!
Sefton is standing near his bunk, getting dressed. Cookie is
helping him to zip up his luxurious flyer's boots.
Good morning, Sefton.
Good morning, Schulz. And how's Mrs.
Schulz? And all the little Schulzes?
Fine -- fine!
He looks at the two bunks which were occupied by Manfredi
and Johnson. Takes off his gloves.
Let us see. We have now two empty
(takes out pencil and
Nummer einundsiebzig und Nummer
dreiundsiebzig in Baracke vier.
Suppose you let those mattresses
cool off a little -- just out of
Ja, ja, gewiss! It is only that we
are cramped for space with new
prisoners every day.
(to the whole barrack)
Gentlemen! Outside! Please! Do you
want me to have trouble with the
He starts herding them out the door.
Hey, Schulz -- as long as you're
going to move somebody in -- how
about a couple of those Russian
Russian women prisoners?
Some are not bad at all.
Just get us a couple with big
Ja! Ja! Droppen Sie dead!
Splitting his sides, he pushes them out, and follows.
EXT. COMPOUND - COLD GREY MORNING
Most of the P.O.W.s are out of their barracks by now. A mass
of freezing, disheveled men. Some wear Army coats over their
underwear, knitted caps pulled down over their ears. Some
are huddled in blankets, their feet in wooden clogs. Only a
few are fully dressed and shaven. A few are on crutches or
They assemble before their respective barracks, forming a U
facing the center of the compound. The barrack chiefs are
assisting the guards in lining them up, fifteen abreast and
Supervised by Schulz and Hoffy the last ones from Barrack 4
All right, men -- fall in!
From off comes:
GERMAN OFFICER'S VOICE
The HUB-BUB dies down.
The guards march down the front line of their barrack groups,
counting the lines of five in German.
As Schulz passes him, Blondie spots something in the middle
of the compound. He nudges Duke. Duke nudges Price, Price
Harry, Harry Stosh, Stosh Cookie. Cookie nudges Sefton who
is putting on his wool gloves. The glove drops. They all
look off in the same direction.
In the center of the compound, right smack in the mud, lie
the corpses of Johnson and Manfredi, covered with a blanket.
You know it's them because Johnson's foot is sticking out,
with the barrack bag still tied to it.
A stir goes through the men of Barrack 4. They are hit hard.
All but Sefton. He looks at the corpses for a moment, then
bends down, picks up the glove and starts putting it on.
In front of the Administration Building a German Lieutenant
has been supervising a couple of guards as they lay narrow
planks over the mud in a line leading to the middle of the
compound. He turns now to the P.O.W.s.
The German guards come to rigid attention. The Americans
just stand there, sullenly.
The Lieutenant comes to a heil salute. Through the open door
of the Administration Building steps the Kommandant, OBERST
VON SCHERBACH, followed by another Lieutenant. Von Scherbach
is a big erect officer of the Potsdam School. Over his
shoulder hangs a furlined officer's coat. His boots shine
like polished glass. He glances over the compound, then walks
down the planks, followed by the two Lieutenants, marching
through the mud on both sides of him. Von Scherbach stops at
the end of the plank. In front of him lies a deep puddle. He
clicks his heels and raises his hand in a heil salute.
Guten Morgen, Sergeants!
A glowering silence from the men. Von Scherbach lowers his
Nasty weather we're having, eh? And
I so much hoped that we could give
you a white Christmas -- just like
the ones you used to know... Aren't
those the words that clever little
man wrote -- you know the one who
stole his name from our capital --
that something-or-other Berlin?
He waits until his nasty little joke sinks in. Schulz has
come up to the Lieutenant, salutes and hands him the slips
of paper with the prisoner count.
Look at that mud. Come spring -- and
I do hope you'll still be with us
next spring -- we shall plant some
grass here -- and perhaps some
He turns to the Lieutenant for the tabulations.
(checking the papers)
Melde gehorchsamst: 628 Gefangene.
Zwei Mann fehlen in Baracke vier.
(to the P.O.W.s)
I understand we are minus two men
this morning. I am surprised at you,
gentlemen. Here I am trying to be
your friend and you do these
embarrassing things to me. Don't you
know this could get me into hot water
with the High Command? They do not
like men escaping from Stalag 17 -
especially, not enemy airmen from
Compound D. We plucked you out of
the skies and now we must see to it
you do not fly away. Because you
would come back and blast our cities
again. The High Command would be
very angry with me. They would strip
me of my rank. They would courtmartial
me, after all these years of a perfect
record! Now you wouldn't want that
to happen to me, would you?
Fortunately, those two men --
From the ranks of the men comes the EERIE DISSONANT SOUNDS
of Joey's SWEET POTATO.
Joey, in the second row of the Barrack 4 company, is playing
on his ocarina, oblivious to what is going on. Stosh turns
and quickly grabs the ocarina from Joey's mouth.
Von Scherbach chooses to disregard the little musical
As I was saying: fortunately those
two men did not get very far. They
had the good sense to rejoin us again,
so my record would stand unblemished.
Nobody has ever escaped from Stalag
17. Not alive, anyway.
He snaps his fingers in the direction of the guard who stands
watch over the corpses.
The guard pulls back the blanket in such a manner that all
we can see is the barrack bag tied to Johnson's leg.
The P.O.W.s however see the corpses. There is an ANGRY BUZZ.
Hoffy marches up to Von Scherbach.
Sergeant Hoffman from Barrack 4.
Yes, Sergeant Hoffman?
As the duly elected Compound Chief,
I protest the way these bodies are
left lying in the mud.
Yes. According to the Geneva
Convention, dead prisoners are to be
given a decent burial.
Of course. I'm aware of the Geneva
Convention. They will be given the
burial they deserve. Or perhaps you
would suggest we haul in twenty-one
cannons from the Eastern Front and
give them a twenty-one gun salute?
Hoffy turns on his heel and walks back to his men.
Von Scherbach, without even looking at the corpses, snaps
his fingers. The guard throws the blanket back over the
For the last time, gentlemen, let me
remind you: any prisoners found
outside the barracks after lights
out will be shot on sight.
Furthermore, the iron stove in Barrack
4, the one camouflaging the trap
door, will be removed. And so that
the men from this barrack will not
suffer from the cold, they will keep
warm by filling in the escape tunnel.
Is that clear?
The men just stand there, in frustrated anger. Stosh clenches
the ocarina in his first.
All right, then, gentlemen. We are
all friends again. And with Christmas
coming on, I have a special treat
for you. I'll have you all deloused
for the holidays. And I'll have a
little tree for every barrack. You
will like that.
Stosh, with a quick underhand flip, throws the sweet potato
in the direction of Von Scherbach.
It lands smack in the middle of the puddle in front of Von
Scherbach and splashes his boots with mud.
Who did this?
I will give the funny man exactly
five seconds to step forward.
He looks about the compound. Five seconds pass. Nobody moves.
Then you shall all stand here if it
takes all day and all night.
From the ranks of the men of Barrack 4, Stosh steps forward.
That is better!
But his triumph is short-lived, for almost instantly Harry
steps forward alongside Stosh. Then Duke and Blondie and
Cookie. Spontaneously, men from all the other barracks follow
until all the P.O.W.s have moved forward one step.
I see! Six hundred funny men! ...There
will be no Christmas trees! But there
will be delousing.
With ice water from the hoses!
He wheels about and marches back up the plank and into the
Administration Building. His Lieutenants after him. Two of
the guards start picking up the planks again.
(shouting, to the
The men break ranks, going off in all directions, some back
to the barracks, some toward the latrines.
Only Joey stands where he stood, his eyes fastened on the
puddle. Slowly he walks toward it. He bends down and fishes
out his sweet potato, dripping with mud. It is broken. He
wipes the pieces off on his coat and hides them inside his
INT. WASH LATRINE
Packed with men from Barrack 4, about two dozen of them.
Others waiting outside for their turn. At the trough washing:
Hoffy, Price, Duke, Stosh, Harry, Cookie and Sefton. No soap.
A couple of worn-out towels. Except for Sefton: He's got
soap, towel and tooth brush.
'We will remove the iron stove --
the one that was camouflaging the
I'm telling you, Animal, these Nazis
You can say that again!
I'm telling you, Animal -- these
Nazis ain't Ko --
I said say it again. I didn't say
Triz reaches for Sefton's soap, but gets a sharp rap on the
Private property, bub.
How come the Krauts knew about that
stove, Security? And the tunnel? How
come you can't lay down a belch around
here without them knowing it?
Look -- if you don't like the way
I'm handling this job --
Kill it, Duke. It's got us all
I just want to know what makes those
Krauts so smart.
Maybe they're doin' it with radar.
Maybe they got a mike hidden some
Yeah. Right up Joey's ocarina.
Or maybe it's not that they're so
smart. Maybe it's that we're so
stupid. Maybe there's somebody in
our barracks that's tipping 'em off!
One of us!
You betcha. I said one of us is a
stoolie. A dirty, stinkin' stoolie!
Is that Einstein's theory? Or did
you figure it out yourself?
A P.O.W. sticks his head into the doorway.
New dames in the Russian compound!
Stosh lets go with a SCREAM. He takes off like shot from a
cannon, Harry after him. Instantly the wash latrine is emptied
of the men, wet as they are. Nobody is left but Price, Hoffy,
Duke, Sefton and Cookie.
It's a stampede. P.O.W.s are rushing across the compound
toward the Russian compound.
Stosh, charging like a bull, gets tripped and falls flat on
his puss right into a mud puddle. Harry zooms past him. Stosh
picks himself up and runs after him, his winter underwear
dripping with mud.
THE BARBED WIRE FENCE
dividing the American and Russian compounds. P.O.W.s rush in
from all sides, about a hundred of them. They go as far as
they are permitted; to a low warning wire, running parallel
to the big fence some fifteen feet away. To cross the warning
wire is verboten. The German guards up in the goon towers
There is great excitement among the P.O.W.s. Some give out
with cat-calls and wolf-whistles; others just stand there
Beyond the fence a new batch of Russian prisoners has just
been brought in. German guards are counting some sixty
prisoners, about twenty of them women. They all are in
uniforms and wear boots, a bedraggled lot. The women are big
buxom dames, not exactly Golden Circle material, but this is
The Americans jump up and down trying to attract the women's
attention. They throw cigarettes, chewing gum, chocolate.
One guy is dancing the Kazatski, two of his pals holding him
Oh you sweethearts!
Let's open the third front!
Hey, Minks -- Pinsk!
How about some borscht -- the two of
Stosh and Harry push right up to trip wire. Stosh, plastered
with mud, goes completely berserk.
Hey -- Russki -- Russki! Look at
those bublichkis! Over here!
Comrade! Comrade! Otchi Tchorniya --
Stosh puts two fingers in his mouth and tries to whistle. He
gets his mouth full of mud. Spits out the mud. Searches madly
through his pockets and throws whatever he can find across
Chewing gum -- chewing gum!
Some of the Russian women break the ranks to pick up the
goodies that come flying over. The German guards push them
back. The women smile at the Americans and wave.
(at the top of his
Look at me! I'm your baby!
Get a load of that blonde one! Built
like a brick Kremlin!
Hey -- Comrade! Over here! This is
Harry Shapiro -- the Volga Boatman
of Barrack four!
Lay off! The blonde is mine!
The women are being led away by the guards.
Hey, Olga -- Volga -- wait for me!
He takes off blindly toward the women, trips immediately
over the warning wire and falls flat on his face in the mud
Up in the goon tower the guard swivels the machine gun and
Zurueck oder wir schiessen! Zurueck!
Harry frantically grabs Stosh by the feet and pulls him back,
under the wire.
Let me go! Let me go!
They'll shoot you, Animal!
He lies right on top of him, holding him by the wrists.
I don't care! Let me go!
From OFF come the SOUNDS of a dishpan being beaten and shouts
of "Chow!" Some of the P.O.W.s start to go back to the
It's chow, Animal! Chow!
Who wants to eat? I just wanna get
No you don't! You don't want any
broads with boots on!
I don't care if they wear galoshes!
You want Betty Grable!
Let me go!
Stosh's face lights up.
Animal! When the war's over, remember
I told you I'd fix you up with Betty
Yeah? How you going to fix me up
with Betty Grable?
How? We go to California. I got a
cousin that's working for the Los
Angeles Gas Company. That's how we
get the address, see? Isn't that
clever? I take you up to her house
and ring the doorbell and say,
'Congratulations, Miss Grable. We
have voted you the girl we'd most
like to be behind barbed wire with,
and I'm here to present the award'.
What's the award?
What d'ya think, jerko! You're the
Me? What if she don't want me?
If she don't want you, she don't get
You're teasing me again!
Let go, Animal! It's chow! We'll
Stosh relaxes his hold and drops him like a limp rag. They
scramble to their feet and run off towards Barrack 4.
Chow time. Most of the men sit around eating. Only a few are
still in line. They stand before a washtub, from which Triz
ladles out a thin brew. Then each man gets a pitiful slice
of sawdust bread, cut by Blondie at the table.
(in chow line)
What's this stuff anyhow? Manicure
This is what I like -- a hearty meal.
They finally found the formula: an
Ersatz of an Ersatz.
Hoffy, back in the line with Joey, carrying both chow cans.
What's holding up the parade?
Are you supposed to drink this stuff
(next in line)
(tastes the stuff)
Hoffy gets the two cans filled, gives one to Joey. This is
the end of the line.
Anyone else want potato soup?
No answer. He takes out a homemade washboard and a pair of
socks, puts them in the tea and starts scrubbing.
Through the door, Stosh and Harry come running.
(out of breath)
Chow! Where's the chow!
He dashes to his bunk, gets his chow can and is about to dip
it into the tub, when he sees what Triz is doing.
Take your socks outa my breakfast!
Triz takes the socks out. Stosh dips in his chow can.
No. Your eyeball goes. The top of
your head. Gotta wind up with
Stosh pours back his tea, a miserable man. His eyes fall on
the door. An electric shock goes through him. He grabs Harry's
arm. They look off:
Sefton has come into the barrack and is crossing toward the
iron stove. In his hand is the incredible -- more beautiful
than all the Kohinoors in the world: an egg.
Harry and Stosh stand there with their eyes bulging. They
start forward, drawn by the egg.
Cookie is at the stove, tending a can of boiling water. He
sees Sefton and puts a makeshift skillet (the banged-up top
of a tin can) with a dab of margarine in it, on the fire.
Sefton takes some keys out of his pocket, tosses them to
Set 'er up, Cookie. I'm starved.
Cookie goes towards Sefton's bunk. Sefton cracks the egg
into the skillet. Stosh and Harry move in, their eyes bulging
at sight of the sizzling beauty.
Easy, Animal! Easy!
Where'd that come from?
From a chicken, bug-wit.
Don't you remember, Animal? A chicken
lays those things.
You goin' to eat it all yourself?
Uh-huh. The yellow and the white.
He flips the egg over in the skillet. Harry and Stosh cover
their eyes and yelp in panic. To their relief they see that
the egg has landed safely. The aroma of the frying egg has
brought about six P.O.W.s down from their bunks. They crowd
around, their mouths watering.
Is it all right if we smell it?
Just don't drool on it.
You're not going to eat the eggshells?
He tosses him the eggshells. Harry gives one half to Stosh.
Thanks. You're a real pal!
(on second thought)
What're we goin' to do with it?
Plant it, Animal, and grow us a
chicken for Christmas.
Cookie, at Sefton's bunk, has taken from one of the
footlockers three cans, a china cup with a broken handle, a
fork, a spoon, and a salt-and-pepper shaker. He slams the
locker shut with his foot and sets everything up on the other
footlocker. Hoffy, Duke and Price, seated at the table eating
chow, eye him with disgust.
From the stove comes Sefton carrying the skillet and the can
of boiling water. The other P.O.W.s, including Harry and
Stosh, follow him, hypnotized by the egg. Sefton walks to
his bunk, sits down on a little stool, puts salt and pepper
on the egg. Cookie meanwhile has opened the cans. From one
of them he measures out a spoonful of instant coffee into
the cup and pours the boiling water over it. Sefton takes
two lumps of sugar out of the other can and some Zwieback
from the third can. The guys around him sniff the royal
breakfast. The situation is tense.
If I were you, Sefton, I'd eat that
egg some place else. Like for instance
under the barrack.
(sipping the coffee,
A little weak today.
Cookie puts another half a spoonful of instant coffee into
Come on, Trader Horn! Let's hear it:
what'd you give the Krauts for that
Forty-five cigarettes. The price has
That wouldn't be the cigarettes you
took us for last night?
What was I going to do with them? I
only smoke cigars.
Nice guy! The Krauts shoot Manfredi
and Johnson last night and today
he's out trading with them.
Look, this may be my last hot
breakfast on account of they're going
to take away that stove. So will you
let me eat it in peace?
Ain't that too bad! Tomorrow he'll
have to suck a raw egg!
He don't have to worry. He'll trade
the Krauts for a six-burner gas range.
Maybe a deep freeze too.
What's your beef, boys? So I'm
trading. Everybody here is trading.
Only maybe I trade a little sharper.
So that makes me a collaborator.
A lot sharper, Sefton! I'd like to
have some of that loot you got in
You would, would you? Listen, Stupe --
the first week I was in this joint
somebody stole my Red Cross package,
my blanket and my left shoe. Well, I
wised up since. This ain't no
Salvation Army -- this is everybody
for himself. Dog eat dog.
You stink, Sefton!
He goes after him.
Come off it! Both of you!
A couple of P.O.W.s hold Duke back.
Now you've done it. You've given me
(he gets up)
Anything else bothering you, boys?
Just one little thing. How come you
were so sure Manfredi and Johnson
wouldn't get out of the forest?
I wasn't so sure. I just liked the
He picks up the skillet with the half-eaten egg.
And what's that crack supposed to
They're lying dead in the mud out
there and I'm trying to find out how
I'll tell you how come.
(pointing at Hoffy)
The Barrack Chief gave them the green
light. And you, our Security Officer,
said it'd be safe. That's how come.
He crosses to Joey who has been sitting on the edge of the
bunk looking on blankly and puts the skillet with the egg on
his lap. Turns back to the others.
What're you guys trying to prove
anyway? Cutting trap doors! Digging
tunnels! You know what the chances
are to get out of here? And let's
say you do get all the way to
Switzerland! Or say to the States?
So what? They ship you to the Pacific
and slap you in another plane. And
you get shot down again and you wind
up in a Japanese prison camp. That's
if you're lucky! Well, I'm no escape
artist! You can be the heroes, the
boys with the fruit salad on your
chest. Me -- I'm staying put. And
I'm going to make myself as
comfortable as I can. And if it takes
a little trading with the enemy to
get me some food or a better mattress
or a woman -- that's okay by Sefton!
He strikes a match on the sleeve of Duke's leather jacket
and lights himself a cigar.
Why you crud! This war's going to be
over some day -- then what do you
think we'll do to Kraut-kissers like
He lunges forward and there is a fracas, the others trying
to hold them back.
From off comes:
At ease! At ease!
MARKO, the Inter-barrack Communications officer, has entered
from the compound, followed by a one-legged P.O.W., THE
CRUTCH. Marko gets up on a stool a piece of paper in his
Break it off, boys! At ease for the
The ruckus subsides.
Today's Camp News!
Father Murray announces that due to
local regulations the Christmas
midnight Mass will be held at seven
in the morning!
You can tell Father Murray to --
At ease! He also says, quote: All
you sack rats better show up for the
services and no bull from anybody.
Unquote. At ease! Monday afternoon a
sailboat race will be held at the
cesspool. See Oscar Rudolph of Barrack
7 if you want to enter a yacht. Next:
Jack Cushingham and Larry Blake will
play Frank deNotta and Mike Cohen
for the pinochle championship of the
That's a fix.
At ease! Tuesday afternoon at two
o'clock all men from Texas will meet
behind the north latrine.
Boos and cheers.
At ease! Next: A warning from
Kommandant von Scherbach. Anybody
found throwing rocks at low-flying
German aircraft will be thrown in
the boob. At ease! At ease!
(then in a lower voice)
Are the doors covered?
He looks around to make sure.
(to The Crutch)
Okay, Steve. Give 'em the radio.
The Crutch, leaning against the edge of the table, pulls up
the empty pant leg. Attached there is a small radio, a
makeshift set with tubes showing. Also a pair of earphones.
Blondie starts getting it out.
You can keep it for two days.
Two days? We're supposed to have it
for a week!
You're lucky to get it at all. The
boys are afraid the Jerries'll find
it here. This barrack is jinxed.
Don't worry. We'll take care of it.
(to Stosh and Harry)
Take some men and get the antenna
going. Let's see if we can catch the
In the background, Harry gets a volley ball from under the
bunk, Stosh picks up a roll of chicken wire from a corner of
the barrack, and the two lead six other P.O.W.s out into the
What about those guys last night?
What gives in this barrack anyway?
Just a little sickness. Somebody
around here's got the German measles.
He oughta know. He went to Johns
Hopkins. He used to be a bedpan.
What's the gag?
At ease! At ease!
Marko shrugs and turns to Hoffy.
Be sure to put down the news. Looks
like the Germans have started a
counter-offensive and the other
barracks want to know.
Marko and The Crutch go off.
The men are setting up the chicken wire, attaching one end
to the barrack, and the other to a tall post: it becomes a
volley ball net, and in turn, an antenna. Stosh is slipping
a wire through the window into the barrack. They divide into
two teams, Stosh and Harry on opposite sides, and start
playing volley ball. In the background, Marko and The Crutch
are seen walking away.
Triz has connected the antenna wire to the radio on the t
able. Blondie is sitting there with the earphones on, working
the dials, Price sitting next to him with pencil and paper.
The others stand around waiting.
Getting too much. I'm tryin' to
If you can't get the BBC, how about
getting Guy Lombardo?
Are we boring you?
Hold it... Quiet...
He repeats what he hears over the earphones while Price writes
...has driven across Luxemburg...
The second German wedge is reported
fourteen miles west of Malmedy where
tank columns cut the road to
Bastogne... the Allied Air Force is
grounded by poor visibility...
The boys don't like what they hear.
The volley ball game is in fine progress, the ball popping
back and forth across the antenna. A German guard approaches,
puzzled over the sports activity on this lousy winter day.
He is a singularly grim fellow. He starts circling them.
Harry and Stosh, to appear nonchalant, break into the
SCHNITZELBANK SONG. The guard moves dangerously close to the
window. Quickly Harry flips the ball over the net at him.
The guard slaps it back across the net. Again Harry pops it
at him ... and slowly the guard finds himself sucked into
Wunderbar! Isn't he wunderbar!
He's the grrrrreatest!
The guard permits himself a smile as he goes on playing.
The boys around the radio.
(Repeating what he
...five Panzer divisions and nine
infantry divisions of von Rundstedt's
army have poured into the wide
breach... meanwhile two of Patton's
tank units have been diverted toward
Bastogne and are trying to --
It's jammed again. Blondie fiddles with the dials.
Static is right! The radio's static,
Patton's static, we're static!
Maybe it's going to be a longer war
than you figured -- eh, Duke?
Triz, who has been standing watch at the door, now sees:
Marching toward Barrack 4 are four German soldiers headed by
Triz reaches up and snaps a string. All the wash in the
barrack jumps up and down. That's the signal.
Immediately the boys jump into action. Triz and Blondie
disconnect the wires. Hoffy takes the radio off the table
and they all start dispersing.
Schulz and the four German soldiers are about to enter the
barrack. Schulz pauses as he sees the guard playing volley
ball enthusiastically. Schulz taps him on his back. The guard
wheels around, freezes, clicks his heels. Schulz gives him a
disapproving look. Then he leads the four soldiers into the
barrack. Harry, Stosh and the other P.O.W.s follow, worried.
Schulz and the soldiers enter the barrack, followed by Harry,
Stosh and the other players.
The guys have just assumed innocent positions. A little too
Did I interrupt something, gentlemen?
Yeah. We were just passing out guns.
Always joking. Always making
Wisecrackers? Where did he pick up
his English? In a pretzel factory?
You always think I am a square. I
have been to America.
(he shows them his
I wrestled in Milwaukee and St. Louis
and Cincinnati. And I will go back!
The way the war is going I will be
there before you!
You should live so long.
Schulz has taken a wallet out of his pocket, shows a
photograph to them.
This is me in Cincinnati.
Who's the other wrestler? The one
with the mustache?
That is my wife.
(taking the photograph)
Look at all that meat. Isn't she the
(snatching it from
Give it back. You must not arouse
Hey, Schulz! I got a deal for you.
Suppose you help us escape. We'll go
home and have everything ready for
you in Madison Square Garden. For
the world championship! Schulz, the
Beast of Bavaria versus Halitosis
Droppen Sie dead!
(to the German soldiers)
Raus mit dem Ofen. Los! Los!
The soldiers move toward the stove. As the scene proceeds
they dismantle the stove and ultimately carry it out.
(to the P.O.W.s)
All right, gentlemen! We will now
all go outside for a little gymnastic
and take some shovels and undig the
tunnel which you digged.
Why don't we just plug up that tunnel --
with the Kommandant on one end and
you on the other.
It is not me. It is the orders. I am
your friend. I am your best friend
Cut out the guff, Schulz. We're on
to you. You know everything that's
happening in this barrack. Who's
tipping you off?
Tipping me off? I do not understand.
You're wasting your time, Duke.
(to the others)
Outside, everybody! Let's get it
Wait a second, Hoffy. Schulz says
he's our best friend. Maybe he can
give us a little hint.
Come on, Schulz! Spill it! How did
you get the information? About
Manfredi and Johnson? About the stove
and the tunnel? Who's giving it to
you? Which one of us is it?
Which one of you is what?
Which one of us is the informer?
You are trying to say that an American
would inform on other Americans?
That's the general idea.
(looking at Sefton)
Only it's not so general as far as
You are talking crazy!
(taking the cigar out
of his mouth)
No use, Schulz. You might as well
come clean. Why don't you just tell
'em it's me. Because I'm really the
illegitimate son of Hitler. And after
the Germans win the war you'll make
me the Gauleiter of Zinzinnati.
You Americans! You are the craziest
people! That's why I like you! I
wish I could invite you all to my
house for a nice German Christmas!
Why don't we accept, Animal? The
worst that can happen is we wind up
a couple of lamp shades.
Raus! Raus! All of you!
By this time most of them have put on their warm clothes,
caps and gloves and are filing out.
Schulz starts to follow them, but stops short as he sees:
The electric light bulb hanging by a wire from the ceiling.
Just the bulb. No shade. The wire is tied up into a slip
Schulz reacts to what he has seen. he watches the last of
the P.O.W.s leave, and the Germans carry the stove out of
the barrack. He closes the door. His entire attitude has
changed. He is serious and efficient. He walks over to the
chess set on the table. Out of his pocket he takes a chess
piece -- a black queen -- and exchanges it with the black
queen from the set. He puts it in his pocket. Steps over to
the light bulb, pulls the slip knot free and exits.
The light bulb hangs straight now, swaying gently in the
The men from Barrack 4 are lined up between the latrine and
the barbed wire, starting to dig up the tunnel. They are
supervised by German guards. In the background, Schulz is
crossing from the barrack towards the Administration Building.
As the men dig, they look off at:
He was the Beast of Bavaria all right,
as we pieced it together later. And
there was a stoolie in our barrack,
just as Duke said. They had a very
simple communications system -- Schulz
and the stoolie...
An open German half-truck driving toward the big gate,
carrying two crude wooden coffins.
That's how the Krauts knew about the
tunnel, from the day we started
digging. Those poor suckers Manfredi
and Johnson! They got out of Stalag
17 sure enough, only not quite the
way they wanted to go.
The men have stopped digging. As the CAMERA goes down the
row they take off their caps. Joey does not comprehend.
Blondie, standing next to him, takes the cap off for him.
The CAMERA PULLS PAST Cookie who has taken his cap off, and
now STOPS on Sefton. He has seen the coffins. He has seen
the others take off their caps. He takes the cigar out of
his mouth, snuffs it out, puts it into his pocket, and slowly
pulls off his cap.
As for the stoolie, I just wish he
had German measles because when you
get the measles you break out all
over in red spots, and we could have
pegged him easy. As it was it could
have been anybody in our outfit --
Duke or Hoffy or Price or Goofy Joey
or Harry or the Animal or maybe
Sefton. Sergeant J.J. Sefton. I guess
it's about time I told you a few
more things about that Sefton guy.
If I was anything of a writer I'd
send it in to the Reader's Digest
for one of those 'Most Unforgettable
Characters You've Ever Met'...
END OF SEQUENCE "B"
EXT. COMPOUND - (DAY)
A circle about 15 feet in diameter is drawn on the barren
ground with white lime. Around it, some forty G.I.s. In the
center, Cookie, holding a cardboard box. To one side, standing
on a wooden crate, Sefton. In front of him, a makeshift
bookie's desk, a heap of loose cigarettes on top. G.I.s are
crowding around, making wagers in cigarettes. Hanging off
one side of the desk, the odds board: NO. HORSE ODDS 1.
Whirlaway 3:1 2. Seabiscuit 5:1 3. Equipoise 1:1 4. Twenty
Grand 4:1 5. Schnickelfritz 10:1
...he was a B.T.O., Sefton was. A
Big Time Operator. Always hustling,
always scrounging. Take for instance
the horse races. Every Saturday and
Sunday he would put on horse races.
He was the sole owner and operator
of the Stalag 17 Turf Club. He was
the Presiding Steward, the Chief
Handicapper, the Starter, the Judge,
the Breeder and his own bookie. He
was the whole works, except that I
was the stable boy for ten smokes a
Step up, boys! The horses are at the
Five on Equipoise!
Give me Equipoise -- ten on the nose!
Two on Twenty Grand!
Schnickelfritz for me. Five smackers!
Equipoise -- one solid pack!
(an unkempt bum)
Five on Seabiscuit! Pay you when the
Red Cross parcels come in.
Have a heart, Sefton!
Sorry. It's against the rules of the
Already? Any more bets? Shake 'em
Cookie shakes the cardboard box, puts it face down on the
ground in the center of the circle.
Let 'er go! They're off and running
at Stalag 17!
Cookie has lifted the box. There are five mice of various
colors with numbers 1 to 5 attached to their backs. The mice
start spreading hesitantly in all directions.
The P.O.W.s YELL and SCREAM, rooting for their horses to
reach the circle line first.
Among the P.O.W.s Stosh and Harry. Stosh, with a bundle of
mutuel tickets in his hand, screaming his head off.
Equipoise! Oh, you beauty! This way!
Equipoise, No. 3, pulls in front and is only a few feet from
the edge of the circle.
Equipoise! Equipoise! What did I
tell you, Animal?
Come on, baby! Daddy's going to buy
you a hunk of cheese!
Equipoise, now only a foot from the finish line, suddenly
stops and goes into a dizzy spin. The other mice gain rapidly.
STOSH AND HARRY
Straighten out, you dog! This way!
That's no horse -- that's a dervish!
Please! This way! Come to Daddy!
In a turmoil of SCREAMING G.I.s, Schnickelfritz passes
Equipoise, still spinning like a top, and crosses the line.
The winner is No. 5: Schnickelfritz!
Stosh grabs Harry.
Schnickelfritz! I told you
Schnickelfritz! Why'd you make me
bet on Equipoise!
I clocked him this morning. He was
running like a doll.
You clocked him! Why don't I clock
The next race will be a claiming
race for four months old and upward
which have not won since November
While Sefton pays off the winners, Cookie puts up a new odds
board. New bettors start lining up on the other side. Among
them, Harry and Stosh.
It's a good thing nobody ever asked
for a saliva test. Because I wouldn't
have put it past Sefton to stiff a
horse once in a while -- especially
when the betting was heavy.
INT. BARRACK 4 - (DAY)
Near Sefton's bunk, the distillery is set up: a Rube Goldberg
contraption of old tin cans and a maze of piping, a margarine
lamp burning under the boiler. The whole thing SPUTTERS and
Behind a makeshift wooden shelf -- the bar -- stands Cookie,
pouring drinks for some eight customers, among them Harry
and Stosh, crocked. In Stosh's hand is the big Betty Grable
cheese-cake photo from his bunk.
Another one of his enterprises was
the distillery. Believe it or not,
he ran a bar right in our barrack,
selling Schnapps at two cigarettes a
shot. The boys called it the
Flamethrower, but it wasn't really
that bad. We brewed it out of old
potato peels and once in a while a
couple of strings off the Red Cross
parcels, to give it a little flavor.
(in a crying jag)
It's not fair, Harry. I'm telling
you, it's not fair! She's been married
for over a year! My Betty! She had a
baby! Didn't you hear it on the radio!
C'mon, Animal! Pull yourself together!
Hey, Cookie! Belt us again!
He pushes their little condensed milk cans, serving as
jiggers, across the bar, counts out four cigarettes.
Look at her! Isn't she beautiful!
Married an orchestra leader!
So what? There's other women!
Not for me! Betty! Betty!
Cut it out. Animal! I'll fix you up
with a couple of those Russian women!
You'll fix me up!
Sure, Animal! I'll get you over there!
How? Pinky Miller from Barrack 8
tried to get over there and they
shot him in the leg!
It takes a gimmick, Animal, and I
figured us a little gimmick.
(tapping his forehead)
Sharp. Sometimes I'm so sharp it's
Cookie slides over the two tin jiggers. Harry picks them up,
hands one to Stosh.
To the Brick Kremlin!
(his eyes on the
She'll never forgive me!
They both drink it down in one gulp, Harry holding his nose.
It's terrible stuff and hits them hard. Stosh goes into a
violent fit of coughing, pulling his barrack cap down over
What are you serving today? Nitric
I only work here. Talk to the
He points to Sefton, who is taking inventory of the cigarettes
in his footlocker: cartons, packages, loose ones. He is
tabulating the amounts on a piece of paper.
All right, Management. What are you
trying to do? Embalm us while we're
Exactly what did you expect for two
cigarettes? Eight year old Bottled-
In-Bond? All the house guarantees is
that you don't go blind.
Don't ever serve 'em again.
Blind! Harry! Harry!
He staggers around, not realizing his cap is pulled down
over his eyes.
Harry -- I'm blind!
(pushing up his cap)
Blind? How stupid can you get, Animal?
I drank the stuff myself.
Suddenly he seems not to see too well himself. He gropes
around in panic.
Animal! Animal! Where are you, Animal?
INT. BARRACK 4 - (DAY)
A big telescope, about seven feet long, is set up on a tripod
at the window pointing toward the Russian Compound. The
telescope is made of various-sized cans soldered together.
It's run by Cookie, behind a table, piled with cigarettes
and chocolate bars. Bent down peering through the telescope,
panning it slowly, is a P.O.W. Across the barrack stretches
a long line of impatient customers, all the way to the open
door and out of it. Cookie taps the peeker to indicate his
time is up. The next in line pays his cigarette and peeks
The killer-diller, of course -- the
real bonanza -- was when Sefton put
up the Observatory. He scrounged
himself some high-powered Kraut lenses
and a magnifying mirror and got Ronnie
Bigelow from Barrack 2 to put the
whole shebang together for a pound
of coffee. On a clear day you could
have seen the Swiss Alps, only who
wanted to see the Swiss Alps? It was
about a mile away, that Russian
delousing shack, but we were right
on top of it. It cost you a cigarette
or a half bar of chocolate a peek.
You couldn't catch much through that
steam, but believe you me, after two
years in that camp just the idea
what was behind that steam sure
spruced up your voltage.
RUSSIAN DELOUSING SHACK - (THROUGH THE TELESCOPE)
About a dozen Russian women, wrapped only in blankets, waiting
in line. The telescope pans across a couple of windows. They
are completely steamed-up by the disinfecting vapors.
The P.O.W. is glued to the telescope. Cookie taps him on the
Let's go! Thirty seconds to a
Without moving his eye from the telescope, the P.O.W. fishes
another cigarette from his pocket and gives it to Cookie.
Sefton stands at the open barrack door, a cold cigar in his
mouth. He surveys the landoffice business, both inside and
out, for beyond him a line of about forty more P.O.W.s
stretches into the compound.
(from rear of line)
Hey, Sefton -- what's snarling up
the traffic? By the time we get to
look they'll be old hags!
Simmer down, boys. There'll be a
second show when they put the next
Hoffy, Price and Duke come in from the compound. Hoffy cases
the situation and pulls Sefton to the side.
What's the big idea, Sefton? Take
that telescope out of here.
You take it out. Only you're going
to have a riot on your hands.
Every time the men get Red Cross
packages you have to think up an
angle to rob them.
When the Krauts find that gadget
they'll throw us all in the boob.
They know about that gadget. I'd
worry more about the radio.
I suppose they also know about your
distillery and the horseraces?
Just what makes you and them Krauts
You tell him, Price. You've got me
shadowed every minute of the day. Or
haven't you found out yet?
Answer the question. How do you rate
all those privileges?
I grease the Kraut guards. With ten
percent of the take.
And maybe a little something else?
A little something what?
He strikes a match on Duke's dogtag and lights his cigar.
(lunging at him)
Maybe a little information!
Hoffy and Price hold back Duke.
Break it off!
How much more do we have to take
There'll be no vigilante stuff. Not
while I'm Barrack Chief.
From the window come excited shouts.
Hey, look at them!
It's Harry and the Animal!
Look what they're doing!
Everybody in the barrack is dashing toward the window giving
out on the Russian Compound. Hoffy, Price, Duke, and Sefton
The window is packed by G.I.s staring out. More crowding in.
Those crazy jerks!
They won't get away with it!
The Krauts will shoot them!
EXT. COMPOUND - (DAY)
This is Harry's little gimmick: He and Stosh are painting a
white line down the middle of the road leading towards the
Russian Compound. Stosh carries the bucket and Harry, moving
backwards, wields the brush. They are very close now to the
barbed wire fence dividing the compounds. A bespectacled
German guard is standing in front of his sentinel house.
They crouch as low as they can as they paint themselves
through the gate past the guard and up the road toward the
Russian delousing shack. The guard gives them a glance. It
looks okay to him. He starts stamping about at the open gate.
G.I.s at the window, watching in great excitement.
They're past the fifty yard line!
Look at them go!
We want a touchdown! We want a
touchdown! We want a touchdown!
Those idiots! They'll paint themselves
into their graves!
EXT. RUSSIAN COMPOUND
Harry and Stosh are doing dandy as they paint up the highway.
Harry gets his bearings: the delousing shack is some twenty-
five feet off the road. He paints a very elegant turn off
THE GATE BETWEEN THE COMPOUNDS
The German guard is stamping up and down. Suddenly he does a
double take as he sees:
EXT. RUSSIAN COMPOUND
The white line leading down the middle of the highway veers
off idiotically over the terrain towards the shack.
THE GERMAN GUARD
He stands there perplexed, then takes off after them.
EXT. DELOUSING SHACK
Harry and Stosh have now painted up to the window of the
shack. Without even stopping, they paint right up the wall
and around the window. As they paint, they peer in through
the thick steam (through which we cannot distinguish
anything). Now, they paint down the building on the other
side of the window and toward the doorway. Into their pathway
come the boots of the German guard. They paint right over
the boots. Then they see the butt of the guard's rifle. They
look at each other. They are in trouble. They stop painting
and straighten up slowly.
Was ist denn hier los? Sie sind
Harry gives the guard's eye-glasses a couple of quick strokes
of paint. Dropping paint and brush, Stosh and he run like
mad back toward the gate.
The guard stands there struggling with his glasses.
The Russian women, huddled in blankets, giggle their heads
END OF SEQUENCE "C"
INT. BARRACK 4 - (DAY)
About twenty P.O.W.s lazing about. The sack rats in their
bunks. Triz and Price playing chess, Joey looking on blankly.
Sefton, a towel around his neck, is sitting in a chair being
shaved by Cookie. Stosh, in his bunk, is carving a new ocarina
for Joey out of wood. CAMERA MOVES SLOWLY to:
The electric light bulb, hanging straight and innocent on
Now let me see, what came next? Oh,
yes. Next came those new prisoners.
'Twas two days before Christmas when
all through the camp, not a creature
was stirring, not even that lamp.
At ease! At ease!
Marko, carrying a handful of letters and a book, has entered,
followed by The Crutch.
The whole barrack springs to life, everyone moving towards
Marko with whistles, screams and hoorays. Joey, who keeps
staring at the chess board. Sefton and Cookie go on with the
At ease! At ease! First, the
Kommandant is sending every barrack
a little Christmas present. A copy
of Mein Kampf. In the words of Oberst
von Scherbach: 'Now that a German
victory is in sight, all American
prisoners are to be indoctrinated
with the teachings of der Fuehrer.
Unquote. In my own words:
(he lets go with a
He tosses the book into the air. Duke catches it.
That's the wrong direction.
He flings it at Sefton. It sails past Sefton's head.
Cookie ducks. Sefton doesn't even bat an eyelash.
You must have been some tail gunner!
Go ahead, Cookie.
Come on, let's get that mail. Anything
for Stanislaus Kuzawa?
At ease! At ease!
As Marko calls out the names he hands out the letters. Some
of the men open them immediately. Others go to their bunks
Martin. Shapiro. Price. Trzcinski.
McKay. Shapiro. Shapiro. Manfredi.
There is an awkward pause, then Marko puts Manfredi's letter
in his pocket.
Shapiro. Musgrove. McKay. Peterson.
Cookie comes up for his letter. So do Duke and Blondie. (Their
names are Musgrove and Peterson.)
Pirelli. Coleman. Agnew. Shapiro.
(in a little voice)
Nothing for Kuzawa?
Just what makes you so popular?
(fanning the letters)
Frightening, isn't it? Fifty million
guys floating around back home and
all those dames want is Sugar-lips
McKay, Agnew. Here, Stosh.
He holds out a letter.
Give this to Joey, will you?
Marko has now distributed all the letters.
At ease! At ease! Here's a little
something from Father Murray. One to
He has knelt down in front of The Crutch and pulls out from
the empty pant's leg a little Christmas tree.
And he says he wants you cruds to
cut out all swearing during Yuletide.
How'd he get those trees?
I don't know. Prayed, I guess. They
grew out of his mattress.
Marko sticks the tree into one of the margarine cans.
What'll we use for decorations?
For that you got to pray yourself.
He goes, followed by The Crutch.
Stosh sits next to Joey at the table, reading his letter to
'...and we do hope that you will
finish that last year of law school
when you come back home...'
(looks up at Joey)
Law school?! You don't want to be a
stinking lawyer with a stinking brief
case in a stinking office, do you,
Joey just sits there. Stosh goes on reading.
'...And do keep writing, son. Your
letters are very dear to us. With
all our love, Dad.' Here, Joey, take
Joey doesn't move.
It's from your Dad, Joey.
He shoves the letter into Joey's pocket.
The next time we write to your folks,
Joey, you know what you're going to
say? You're going to say you don't
want to be a lawyer any more. You
want to be a musician -- like play
the flute, maybe -- eh, Joey?
There is a fleeting smile on Joey's face.
Triz, in his bunk, a crumpled letter in his hand, is mumbling
I believe it! I believe it!
You believe what?
'Darling, you won't believe it, but
I found the most adorable baby on
our doorstep and I have decided to
keep it for our own. Now, you won't
believe it, but it's got exactly my
eyes and nose...' Why does she always
say I won't believe it? I believe
Blondie is reading his letter, several G.I.s around him,
among them Duke.
This is from my mother.
'I saw a wonderful article on German
prison camps in one of the magazines.
They showed pictures of the tennis
courts and they also say that in the
winter they freeze them over so you
boys can ice skate...'
Anything about us grouse hunting in
the Vienna woods?
(continues to read)
'...In a way I'm glad you're not in
America right now -- with everything
rationed here, like gas and meat.'
Heart-rendering, ain't it? Why don't
we send them some food parcels?
Harry is busy with all his mail. He has opened six of his
letters and is now working on the last. Stosh comes into the
SHOT and peeks over his shoulder.
What do those broads say?
What do they always say?
That's what I wanna hear.
(hiding the letters)
It's not good for you, Animal.
Stosh grabs one of the letters from him.
Hey! This is with a typewriter! It's
from a finance company!
So it is from the finance company.
So it's better than no letter at
all. So they want the third payment
on the Plymouth.
(showing him five
So they want the fourth, the fifth,
the sixth and the seventh. So they
want the Plymouth.
Sugar-lips Shapiro! Frightening,
(holding up the last
This is a good one!
(mounts a stool)
Shut up, everybody! Listen to this!
'The President of the United States
to Harry Shapiro. Greeting: Having
submitted yourself to a local board,
you are hereby notified to report...'
What do you know! So now I'm a draft
EXT. BARRACK 4 - (DAY)
Hoffy is walking across the muddy compound towards the
barrack, leading a couple of new prisoners: LIEUTENANT DUNBAR
and SERGEANT BAGRADIAN. They are exhausted but, by contrast
to the old P.O.W.s, remarkably clean. They are followed by a
P.O.W., carrying two barrack bags.
(opening door to
This is it, gentlemen. Don't bother
to scrape your shoes.
He leads them into the barrack.
Hoffy leads in Dunbar, Bagradian and the P.O.W. with the
barrack bags. He snaps the line, the wash jiggles through
the barrack. Everybody turns.
Okay, gang! Meet our new guests.
This is Lieutenant Dunbar and this
is Sergeant Bagradian.
DUNBAR AND BAGRADIAN
The whole barracks comes to its feet and salutes him with
mock reverence. Harry dashes up and polishes with his sleeve
the Lieutenant's bar.
Knock it off, boys. The pleasure's
The Lieutenant will be with us for a
week or so until the Krauts can ship
him to the officers' camp in Silesia.
Looks like all the railroad lines
out of Frankfurt are fouled up because
somebody blew up an ammunition train.
Somebody, my eye.
The Lieutenant did it -- right in
the station -- with fifty German
(climbing off the
Well! Glad to have you with the
You're just in time for the Christmas
Looks more like the lost company of
P.O.W. WITH BARRACK BAGS
He's an actor. You should see him do
imitations. He can imitate anybody.
If he can imitate a girl, he's made.
Hey -- do Lionel Barrymore.
Stop it, boys. They were shot down
two days ago and they've been on
their feet ever since.
(to Stosh and Harry)
Fix them some tea, will you?
(to Dunbar and
Price will show you your bunks.
Price leads them towards the bunks which were formerly
occupied by Manfredi and Johnson, the P.O.W. with the barrack
bags following them.
We had a couple of unexpected
vacancies. Which one will it be --
the upper or lower, Lieutenant Dunbar?
Cookie is just finished shaving Sefton. Sefton turns in his
Lieutenant Dunbar? It wouldn't be
James Schuyler Dunbar? From Boston?
Yes, it would. Do we know each other?
He's from Boston, too. But you
wouldn't know him, not unless you
had your house robbed.
Sefton gets up, wiping the soap off his ears with the towel.
Maybe he would. We applied for
Officers' Training together, remember?
They turned me down, but I'm glad to
see you made it. Of course, it
couldn't be that all that dough behind
you had something to do with it!
(to the others)
His mother's got twenty million
They've got a summer house in
Nantucket, with an upstairs polo
You better put a canopy over his
Lay off, Sefton.
With your mother's pull, how come
you're not a chicken colonel by now?
Lay off, I said -- if you don't want
your head handed to you.
(from the table)
Tea is being served on the verandah!
Harry sets two chow cans on the table.
Where are the napkins, Animal?
Stosh tears off two sheets of toilet paper from a roll,
separates them and puts them next to the chow cans. By now,
Dunbar and Bagradian come over to the table.
(to Dunbar, a la Ronald
Do be seated, Bonita. What a perfectly
charming table arrangement. They
must have copied it from House
Stosh starts pouring hot water from the pot.
Animal! How many times have I told
you, you got to pour from the left!
Stosh reverses his direction. Harry has taken a faded tea
bag out of his watch pocket. He dunks it three times into
each chow can. Then, looking at the tea bag as if it were a
Dinner will be served at seven sharp.
He puts the tea bag back into his watch pocket.
Where'd they get you, Lieutenant?
On the Schweinfurt run.
How many ships did you lose?
Half the group.
Flying out of England?
Yes. Paddington, 92nd Bomber Group.
Hey, Lieutenant. How did you blow up
that train with fifty guards around?
Just lucky, I guess.
Don't let him kid you. Cagney couldn't
have pulled a sweeter job.
(a la Cagney)
All right, boys. We were waiting in
the depot in Frankfurt, see? And
there was an ammunition train coming
through, the longest ammunition train
you ever saw, see? So Dunbar gets
himself in the men's room, see? Fixes
himself a time bomb, busts open the
window and just as the train moves
out, lays the thing in there, see?
So then, he comes out like nothing's
happened and three minutes later you
can hear it -- boom! Broke every
window in Frankfurt. It was gorgeous!
I wouldn't talk about things like
They never caught on.
They may. That's why I would keep my
We're all Americans here!
The Krauts have a way of getting
Especially in this barrack.
That's what we'd like to know.
Sefton is just putting on his leather jacket. He has been
listening to what has been going on. Cookie hands him out of
the footlocker a bottle of Rhine wine and a carton of
cigarettes. Sefton tucks them inside his leather jacket.
Cookie now hands him a pair of silk stockings.
(in a low voice)
There's only one pair left.
(putting the stockings
in his pocket)
We'll get some more.
He puts his cap on and walks toward the door. As he passes
Where does a guy take a hot shower
Hot showers? Dig him!
Sorry. No hot showers. You wash in
(stopping in his tracks)
What did you expect, glamor boy? The
Officers' Club with a steam room and
a massage maybe?
(going after him)
Just a minute. You made a couple of
cracks before and I let them slide.
But I don't intend to take any more.
If you resent my having money, start
a revolution, but get off my back.
Look, Lieutenant. All your dough
won't help you here. Because here
you're on your own. And no mother to
throw you a lifebelt. Now let's see
how good you can swim.
He has picked a little twig off the Christmas tree. He puts
it in his buttonhole.
Sorry, boys, but my taxi's waiting.
He goes out.
What's wrong with him?
Number one on the rat parade!
Hoffy nods to Duke. Duke leaves the barrack, after Sefton.
EXT. COMPOUND - (DAY)
On the muddy compound there is a tag football game going on
with some forty G.I.s watching.
Sefton is walking along. Behind him, Duke has come out of
the barrack and is following him. Sefton becomes aware of
it. Nonchalantly, he walks into a wash latrine.
INT. WASH LATRINE
Sefton comes in. There is another P.O.W. there, a colored
guy, just finishing washing his hands. Sefton quickly climbs
up a couple of rungs of the ladder leading to the water tank
and stops there. The colored P.O.W. doesn't notice it.
EXT. WASH LATRINE
Duke stands some distance away, watching the only pair of
legs visible under the raised partition. The legs move now
down the length of the latrine and out the other end. The
colored P.O.W. emerges and walks off with his back toward
Duke. Duke follows him.
INT. WASH LATRINE
Sefton jumps off the ladder and exits the way he came in.
It was a funny thing about Sefton
and me. I guess I knew him as well
as anybody else in the camp because
I had worked for him for two years.
But there were lots of things I didn't
know about him. Take for instance,
where he would disappear to once in
a while. Of course, I had a hunch,
but it seemed so crazy I couldn't
quite believe it -- Just as I would
never have believed that Sefton was
the guy that would give away
Lieutenant Dunbar for blowing up
that ammunition train.
Duke is still following the wrong guy. Now the P.O.W. stops
to talk to a pal. Duke realizes his mistake. He dashes back
into the wash latrine and comes out again. He stands there
frustrated. With the football players rushing about, passes
being thrown and G.I.s milling around, he has lost Sefton.
INT. BARRACK 4 - (DAY)
START on the electric light -- the cord is again tied up
into a noose.
CAMERA PANS to Harry. He is made up a la Hitler; his hair is
combed across his forehead and a charcoal mustache on his
lip. He is now making up Joey as Hitler, with two fingers
blackened in charcoal. Joey just sits in his bunk, dumbly.
At the table, Hoffy is playing gin with Dunbar. Price
Cut the horseplay, Harry. What's the
matter with you guys?
And don't blame me if you all wind
up in the cooler.
He lays down his hand.
Stosh, at the door, holds it slightly ajar and peeks out
into the compound. He too is made up as Hitler.
Get ready! Here he comes!
He SLAMS the door, snaps wash line.
EXT. BARRACK 4 - (DAY)
A German truck draws up, loaded with blankets. Schulz, sitting
next to the driver, gets out and starts into the barrack.
Two German guards stay behind.
Schulz enters, closes the door behind him. From OFF comes
Bagradian's voice: A double-talk German gibberish in the
characteristic guttural sounds of der Fuehrer.
Schulz stops, mystified.
Bagradian stands on a stool giving a lecture to some thirty
P.O.W.s, all of them with their backs towards Schulz.
Bagradian's face cannot be seen as he holds the Mein Kampf
book in front of it. Schulz listens for a little while to
Bagradian's ranting and raving. Then he stamps his foot.
Gentlemen! Gentlemen! Attention!
Bagradian lowers the book. He too is made up as Hitler. He
raises his arm in the Nazi salute.
He catches himself, lowers the arm.
Droppen Sie dead.
(a la Hitler)
Quiet! We are indoctrinating!
(to the others)
Is you all indoctrinated?
Is you all good Nazis?
Is you all little Adolfs?
Then we shall all zalute Feldwebel
von und zu Schulz! About face!
The P.O.W.s wheel around and face Schulz. They are all made
up as Hitler.
Sieg heil! Sieg heil! Sieg Heil!
After each 'Sieg heil' they raise their arms in salute.
Ach! One Fuehrer is enough! Now
please, gentlemen! Take off the
mustaches immediately. Or do you
want me arrested by the Gestapo?
You would be very sorry to get a new
Feldwebel. Somebody without a sense
Okay, boys. Wipe off the mustaches.
Now what is it, Schulz?
The men start wiping off the mustaches and straightening
Gentlemen, tomorrow morning the Geneva
Man is coming to inspect the camp
whether we are living up to the
International Convention. I am sure
he will find we are treating you
very well. You must not run around
in your underwear. And take off the
wash. The Kommandant wants all the
barracks to be spic and also span.
We'll put pink ribbons on the bedbugs.
The Kommandant also sends you clean
blankets. He wants every man to have
a new, clean blanket.
We know! We got them last year. Five
minutes after the Geneva Man was
gone, the blankets were gone.
One more thing, gentlemen. The
Kommandant told me to pick up the
The one you are hiding in the barrack,
don't you know? The one your friend
without the leg is smuggling all
over the compound.
Schulz, you're off your nut!
Give me the radio.
We have no radio.
All right, gentlemen, I will find it
myself. Now let's see.
He starts wandering around the barrack, drawing closer and
closer to the trick bucket.
Am I cold? Am I getting warmer? Hot,
maybe? Very hot?
He has reached the bucket. With his boot he kicks it over on
the floor. The water spills on Cookie's shoes. The radio and
the earphones lie on the floor.
(picking up radio)
What is this? This is water?
It's a mouse trap.
(holding up earphones)
My grandmother's ear-muffs.
Look at them, Lieutenant. Everybody
is a clown! How do you expect to win
the war with an army of clowns?
We sort of hope you'll laugh
yourselves to death.
Schulz gives out with a big phony laugh. As he laughs his
eyes fall on:
The light bulb and the cord tied up in a noose.
Schulz stops laughing.
Now, outside everybody, for the
blankets! Everybody out!
He herds them out. Joey is in his bunk, still wearing the
Outside! You, too!
He pushes Joey out. Alone in the barrack again, Schulz quickly
walks to the table, exchanges the black queens and straightens
out the light cord.
EXT. BARRACK 4 - (DAY)
The men, standing in line are being issued new blankets by
the two German guards.
That Schulz pig. I'll get him yet.
You hold him. I'll slug him.
It's not Schulz. It's that stoolie.
Whoever he is, he's sure batting a
The guy I want to talk to is Sefton.
(turns to Cookie, who
is coming up in the
You haven't seen Sefton, have you?
No, I haven't.
(hurrying them along)
INT. BARRACK 4 - (DAY)
The P.O.W.s are coming back with the blankets. Schulz is
standing at the door with radio and earphones.
(calling out to the
I'm very sorry about the mouse trap,
but the war news are very depressing
The two German guards have entered. Schulz points at the
rolled-up volley ball net under one of the bunks.
I might as well also confiscate the
The guards carry out the wire-roll.
Simultaneously, he snaps the wash line. Shaking with laughter,
he exits. As he goes out, Cookie squeezes himself into the
barrack, carrying his blanket. He starts edging towards his
bunk, but Hoffy grabs him.
All right, Cookie, let's hear it:
where is Sefton?
I don't know. I told you.
He wouldn't be at the Kommandant's,
I don't know.
What did they trade him for the radio?
I don't know.
During this, they have backed him up towards his bunk.
Why don't we just look in those
Come on, you little stooge. Hand
over them keys.
I haven't got any keys.
Okay. Then I'll get me a key.
He grabs off a piece of iron holding up a corner of the
distillery. Meanwhile, Harry has pulled out Sefton's
footlockers. Stosh shoves the iron bar into one of the locks.
Stops. Looks up at Hoffy.
Stosh starts ripping off the lock.
Cookie has shrunk back into the corner of his bunk.
The first footlocker is cracked open. It is brimful of
cigarettes, chocolate bars, coffee, tea and sugar. Stosh now
pries open the second footlocker. He throws back the top:
there is a dazzling assortment of cameras, binoculars,
wristwatches, beer steins, bottles of Rhine wine and a cuckoo
Of all the hoarding cruds!
Looks like Macey's basement, don't
That kid's richer than my mother.
Harry has picked up the cuckoo clock. It opens, the birdie
emerges and cuckoos.
He slaps the door shut on it. Stosh pulls from under the
binoculars a pair of silk stockings. He holds them up.
For cryin' out loud! What would he
be doing with these?
Suppose you ask me.
They turn. In the door stands Duke, breathless. He had just
come in from the Compound.
Go on, ask me! Because I got the
goods on Mister Sefton. Because this
time he didn't shake me.
He moves toward the telescope at the window.
Take a look for yourself. It'll curdle
He swings the telescope around so it faces the Russian
The Russian women!
They all dash towards the window and the telescope. Hoffy
pushes through and looks himself, focusing the telescope.
Try the end barrack. Where the goodies
Come on, Hoffy! We all want to see!
Hoffy straightens up. Stosh pushes Harry away and looks
through the telescope.
How did he get over there?
Easy! Walked right through the gate,
past the guard. Like he was some
Kraut Field Marshal.
Stosh, looking through the telescope, has let go with a long
This is murder!
RUSSIAN BARRACK - (DAY)
The telescope is focused on the window, revealing:
A party is in progress. Sefton is the only man among some
eight Russian women. He lies on a bunk, reclining like a
Sultan. The Russian women around him vie for his favor. One
plays the balalaika. Another is dancing the Kazatski on the
The men struggle to get at the telescope. Harry jerks Stosh
away. Meanwhile, Blondie moves in.
(pulling Blondie off)
Go play with your marbles!
The stinkin' miser! Keeping all that
Would I like to lay my hands on him!
(from the telescope)
Who wants to lay their hands on him?
Blondie, Bagradian and a couple others have dashed to the
footlocker, grabbed themselves some binoculars, and dash
back to the window to look.
(to Hoffy and Price)
So I'm a vigilante, huh? So what are
the Barrack Officers going to do
Don't worry Duke. We'll handle it
from here on in.
You better handle it fast. Before a
few more of us get knocked off.
Hoffy, boiling mad, grabs the telescope from the guys and
flings it across the room.
The telescope smashes against Sefton's bunk. It almost hits
Cookie. He cringes back.
EXT. COMPOUND - (DUSK)
Sefton is coming back from the Russian compound. There are
about a dozen P.O.W.s about. He pauses at the gate until a
couple of P.O.W.s have moved on. Then he walks through the
gate, giving the German guard a little high sign. Whistling
a Russian tune, Sefton crosses toward Barrack 4.
INT. BARRACK 4 - (DUSK)
The electric lights are burning. Sefton enters, whistling.
Duke slips behind him, slams the door shut, and stands there
blocking the exit.
Sefton stops whistling. He surveys the situation. About twenty-
five P.O.W.s stand around silently, looking at him. Hoffy,
Price, Harry and Stosh in the foreground.
Too late for chow?
What's the matter, boys? Is my slip
I'll say it is. You spilled a little
borscht on it.
Have a nice time over there?
Oh! Somebody was peeking!
He nonchalantly starts peeling off his coat.
Yeah! Had a dreamy time! Those dames,
they really know how to throw a party.
I've handled some pretty interesting
material in my day, but between you
and me, there's just nothing like
the hot breath of the Cossacks.
There's a couple of blonde snipers
over there, real man-killers...
He breaks off as his eyes fall on his footlockers. He sees
that they have been broken open.
They just look at him. He turns to Cookie, who is curled up
in his bunk, petrified.
What happened, Cookie? Who did it?
We did it.
There better not be anything missing.
This is private property.
So was the radio private property.
So was Manfredi and Johnson.
What about the radio?
(moving in on Sefton)
Yeah, what about it?
(to Hoffy and Price)
Cut the horsing around. We know he's
the stoolie and we know what the pay-
off is. Let's get on with it.
Let's get on with what? What is this
anyway? A Kangaroo Court? Why don't
you get a rope and do it right?
You make my mouth water.
You're all wire happy, boys. You've
been in this camp too long. You put
two and two together and it comes
out four. Only it ain't four.
What's it add up to you, Sefton?
It adds up that you got yourselves
the wrong guy. Because I'm telling
you. The Krauts wouldn't plant two
stoolies in one barrack. And whatever
you do to me you're going to have to
do all over again when you find the
(from the window)
He snaps the wash.
EXT. COMPOUND - (NIGHT BY NOW)
Planks have been laid from the Administration Building to
Barrack 4. Two German guards are just putting down the last
plank right against the barrack. Von Scherbach strides down
the planks. He is accompanied by his aide and two German
soldiers. They, of course, are marching through the mud. The
aide hurries ahead to open the door to the barrack.
INT. BARRACK 4 - (NIGHT)
Von Scherbach enters, followed by his aide. All the P.O.W.s
look on tensely.
Good evening, Sergeants.
A bit dank in here, isn't it?...
Where is the Baracken-Fuehrer?
You have a Lieutenant here...
He holds out his hand. His aide hands him a slip of paper.
...a Lieutenant James Dunbar?
I am Lieutenant Dunbar.
What is your number?
(reading off his dog-
(checking with paper)
That is correct.
Lieutenant Dunbar, I came to apologize
for the accommodations. Ordinarily,
of course, we never put officers up
with enlisted men.
Quite a transportation jam we are
having outside of Frankfurt! They
are very angry in Berlin. They will
be even angrier on the East Front,
waiting for that ammunition train.
Don't you think so, Lieutenant?
I don't know what you're talking
Of course you don't. Now, Lieutenant,
how would you like to join me in my
quarters? I have a nice fire going.
I'm okay here. Why bother?
No bother. I'm very grateful for a
little company. You see, I suffer
Ever try forty sleeping pills?
(to his aide, sharply)
The aide takes Dunbar by the arm.
(to the aide)
Wait a minute. We have some rights
(to von Scherbach)
Why is this man being taken out?
(looking around the
Curtains would do wonders for this
(on second thought)
You will not get them.
He snaps his fingers. The aide marches Dunbar out. Von
Scherbach follows, slamming the door after him.
For a moment, there is a stunned silence. Then:
How did he ever find out about that
You must have shot off your mouth
all the way from Frankfurt to here.
We did not.
Maybe just a hint or so. Think hard.
I don't have to think. We didn't
tell anything to anybody. Not a word.
Not until we hit this barrack.
The men stand struck.
Then all eyes go to Sefton. He is closing his footlockers.
He senses their look. Straightens up.
What are you looking at me for?
No answer. He shoves the footlockers under his bunk. From
OFF come whistles and shouts: 'Lights Out!'
The lights go out. The barrack is in semi-darkness.
I suppose some jerk's going to say I
He crawls into his bunk. He lies there, his eyes wide open.
The air is charged.
After a long moment, the men move in on him, led by Duke and
Stosh. Sefton sits up to meet them. A couple of guys grab
him from behind, hold him down.
Why don't you try it one at a time?
The first blows are falling.
Joey lies in his bunk, his head propped against the bedpost,
his face still in idiotic Hitler make-up. He does not
comprehend the SOUNDS from Sefton's bunk, the beating and
muffled cries. In the foreground, the electric bulb, hanging
straight, sways gently.
END OF SEQUENCE "D"
Wintry day. Cold sun shining. Through the big gate two
vehicles are driving into the compound: a 1939 Buick sedan
and a tarpaulin-covered truck. The vehicles are muddy,
battered, and carry the insignia of the Red Cross. They stop
in front of the Administration Building. P.O.W.s converge
from all sides. Out of the Buick steps the Geneva Man: a
friendly type, about fifty-five, dressed in civilian clothes
and carrying a brief case. He tips his Homburg to the P.O.W.s,
but they are more interested in the truck. While a couple of
German lieutenants exchange credentials with the Geneva Man,
the Red Cross drivers roll back the tarpaulin of the truck,
and the P.O.W.s (including all the men from Barrack 4, except
Sefton) crowd around the goodies.
Now, there's a lot of folks around
these days that don't believe in
Santa Claus. I always did and I always
will. For a while there, I thought
the German Luftwaffe had shot him
down, reindeer, sleigh and all. But,
no sir! Come the day before Christmas,
he showed up with some presents for
us, the Geneva Man did. He had started
out with seven truckloads. He was
lucky to get one of them through --
with all the bombing and booby traps
and pilfering. Still, they were
presents and made you feel good:
coffee, a little sugar and some candy
and toothbrushes and about a thousand
rolls of that sanitary paper. Brother,
they sure kept sending us reams of
that stuff. I'll bet you if they had
dropped all that paper on Berlin the
first day, the war would have been
over right then and there.
INT. BARRACK 4 - (DAY)
It is quite changed now. The wash is gone. Everything is put
away. The barrack is apparently empty, except for a German
guard and Schulz, who gives the place a last once-over. The
German guard is sweeping dust under the bunks.
Schnell! Schnell! Bevor der Mann vom
Roten Kreuz inspizieren kommt!
At one of the bunks he sees a miserable plant, potted in a
smelly old shoe. He picks it up and gives it to the guard.
Nehmen Sie das hinaus!
The guard takes the shoe out. Schulz, about to leave himself,
sees a pair of socks hanging from the line above. He rips
them down and tucks them disgustedly under a blanket. From
At the other end of the barrack, Sefton is lying in his bunk.
He has propped himself up on his elbow. His face is battered.
One eye is swollen, one ear gashed. His body is aching.
What is this? You must get out of
the bunk. The Geneva Man is coming
to inspect the barrack!
He sees Sefton's condition.
Du lieber Gott! How do you look? You
had a fight?
(holding out a pair
of silk stockings)
How would you like to give Frau Schulz
a pair of silk stockings for
You should go and see the doctor.
Maybe I can --
Here. Take them.
He presses the stockings upon Schulz.
Wunderbar! Maybe they are too
wunderbar for my wife. But there is
a piano teacher in the village --
And how about three hundred cigarettes
He has dragged himself out of his bunk and is taking cartons
of cigarettes out of the footlocker.
Three hundred cigarettes! What is it
you want from me?
Who's the guy, Schulz?
The one you work with. Who is he?
How do you do it?
I do not want those cigarettes.
Yes, you do!
He pulls himself up with an armful of cartons.
I'll make it five hundred!
Sefton grabs him.
You'd better talk, Schulz, because
I'm going to find out with you or
without you. Because I won't let go
for a second. Because they'll have
to kill me to stop me. So talk!
Talk what? I do not know anything!
How many do you want? A thousand?
He bends over the footlocker, fighting his pain, comes up
with more cartons. He thrusts them upon Schulz.
Take it! Take it!
There is a SOUND of P.O.W.s entering. Schulz looks off.
The P.O.W.s are coming back from the compound with the
Christmas presents. Hoffy, Price, Duke, Harry and Stosh stand
in the door, looking at Sefton and Schulz.
Schulz quickly drops the cartons on Sefton's bunk. Stands
embarrassed for a moment, then retrieves his poise.
Gentlemen! When the Geneva Man comes
through the barrack, I don't want
any funny business. No mustaches. We
will all behave ourselves.
He goes toward the other end of the barrack, which is by now
filled with all the other P.O.W.s. Schulz stops.
And gentlemen! You will not complain
to the Geneva Man. Because I have
orders from the Kommandant to report
everyone who complains.
The men move toward Sefton.
Look at him! Dunbar's being crucified
and he's trading again!
Didn't you get enough last night?
You itching for more?
Some guys never learn!
I called a meeting of the barrack
chiefs this morning, Sefton. I thought
maybe I could get you transferred
into another barrack. It turns out
nobody likes you any more than we
So you're stuck with me, eh?
Maybe those Russian dames would take
Not with that kisser -- not any more!
Cookie has come through the door with some ice in a towel.
Here... put some ice on it.
Duke grabs the ice-bag from him.
Beat it, stooge!
(to Hoffy and Price)
Go on -- tell the crumb where he
All right, Sefton. You got away lucky
last night. One more move, no matter
how small, and you'll wake up with
your throat slit!
You heard that, Sefton?
Sure I heard it. I still got one
From OFF comes Schulz' WHISTLE. They look.
Schulz stands at the far door, blowing his whistle.
Achtung! Achtung! Everybody at
attention for the Geneva Man!
The men all come to attention before their bunks. The German
lieutenant enters, ushering in the Geneva Man. Schulz stiffens
and clicks his heels.
As you were, gentlemen. Please.
He takes off his hat, looks around, and as the scene
progresses, moves through the barrack.
Here we have a typical barrack. It
houses seventy-five men. Every one
of them has his own bunk, naturally.
Naturally. It would be rather awkward
to have three men in one bunk.
As for the blankets, you will notice
they are very warm. Fifty percent
They also smell of moth balls.
(to a P.O.W. at that
When were they issued? This morning?
The P.O.W. looks noncommittally.
(to the Lieutenant)
What do you do for heat in this
barrack? No stove?
The men here used it for a trap door,
so we had to remove it temporarily.
How long is temporarily? I trust not
Through the other door a couple of P.O.W.s have brought in
the chow-tub, steaming with some brew. They put it on the
table in the middle of the barrack.
Here you see a typical meal the
prisoners are getting. What are we
having today, Schulz?
Bean soup with ham hocks. Would you
like to taste it?
(fishing with the
Where's the ham hock? There should
be a ham hock.
When he finds it, we'll send it to
The Geneva Man continues down the barrack.
Are there any complaints? Please
He looks around. A pause.
Don't be afraid to talk. That's what
the Geneva Convention is for: to
protect the rights of prisoners of
war. Whether they are Americans or
What have you got to say?
I like it here.
(then with a shrug)
What about you?
It's all right. Considering.
The Geneva Man walks on. Stops at Sefton's bunk. Sees his
What happened to you? Were you beaten?
Why don't you answer?
(to the German
What did you do to this man?
They didn't do nothing.
Who beat you?
Nobody beat me. We were playing
pinochle. It's a rough game.
Pardon me, sir. Since you want us to
speak up, there was a man removed
from this barrack last night. A
Lieutenant Dunbar. We sure would
appreciate your looking into it.
That's if they haven't shot him yet.
(to the German
Why was the man arrested?
Sabotage. He blew up a train.
They'd have to prove that first,
wouldn't they? Isn't that what the
Geneva Convention says? You can't
just take a man out and shoot him!
QUICK DISSOLVE TO:
INT. VON SCHERBACH'S OFFICE - (DAY)
The office is in the Administration Building. It is primitive,
sparsely furnished. A desk with a couple of phones on it.
Iron stove. A black leather sofa. Maps.
In the room are von Scherbach, Dunbar and the Colonel's
ORDERLY. The Colonel's boots, shining gloriously, stand near
the desk. He is pacing up and down in his stocking feet
talking to Dunbar. In his hand is the black queen from the
chess game. He tosses it into the air once in a while and
catches it. Dunbar stands close to a wall. He is completely
exhausted, fighting sleep.
START the SCENE on the chess piece in von Scherbach's hand
and PAN with it as von Scherbach walks to reveal the room.
You have no idea how boring my life
here is. If it weren't for an
occasional air raid or some foolish
prisoners trying to escape, I wouldn't
know what to do. I want to thank you
for keeping me company. I don't drink,
I don't smoke, I don't read. I hate
music. That only leaves good
conversation. It will be a shame to
I didn't do it -- I didn't do it.
Of course you did! Twenty-six carloads
of munitions gone off like a trick
cigar! The S.S. is running around in
circles. The Gestapo is arresting
the wrong people. And von Scherbach
has caught the fish. Most amusing,
Dunbar falls back against the wall, yawning.
(straightening him up)
You are being rude again.
I want to sleep. Give me five minutes
on that couch.
(looking at his
Nine-thirty. General von Pfeffinger
should be at his desk by now. Shall
we call Berlin and tell him the good
I didn't do it. I didn't do it.
Von Scherbach has gone to the desk, picks up the phone and
Hauptkommando Berlin. General von
He hangs up, sits on the edge of the desk holding up his
stocking feet. During his subsequent spiel, the orderly steps
up and pulls von Scherbach's boots on.
I hope you appreciate this moment,
Lieutenant. You see, I am a cavalry
man. All the von Scherbachs were
cavalry men. Well, you know what
happened to the cavalry. The young
ones they put into panzer divisions.
The older ones they put in the
quartermaster's corps. Or they made
them recruiting officers or wardens.
Like me. Wet nurses to putrid
prisoners. In Berlin they have
forgotten that Colonel von Scherbach
even exists. They will remember now!
The boots are on. The telephone RINGS. He jumps to his feet,
picks up the receiver, automatically clicks his heels.
Berlin? Hier Oberst von Scherbach.
General von Pfeffinger?
(clicks his heels)
Oberst von Scherbach. Stalag 17.
Melde gehorchsamst haben als
Gefangenen den Mann, der Munitionszug
in Frankfurt in die Luft gesprengt
hat. Jawohl, Herr General --
(clicks the heels)
-- Name Leutenant Dunbar. Sabotage.
Jawohl, Herr General.
He clicks his heels again, hangs up. Sits again on the desk
and the orderly automatically starts to pull off his boots.
There will be two S.S. men here
tomorrow to take you to Berlin. You
will be interrogated by the General
Staff. When you come to the part
about your arrest, I'm sure you won't
forget to give me the proper credit.
I want to sleep... I haven't slept
for three days.
(pulling him up)
You will remember the name? Von
Scherbach? VON SCHER-BACH!
There's a KNOCK on the door.
Schulz opens the door, clicks his heels, salutes.
Der Mann vom Roten Kreuz moechte den
Herrn Oberst sprechen!
Schulz ushers in the Geneva Man, steps out himself.
Well, Herr Inspector! How did you
find the camp? Crowded but gemuetlich,
shall we say?
I want to talk about Lieutenant
Dunbar. Is this Lieutenant Dunbar?
What exactly is he charged with?
Whatever it is, it's out of your
jurisdiction. This man is not a
prisoner of war. Not any more. He is
He is a prisoner of war until you
can prove sabotage.
I didn't do it. I was in the Frankfurt
station and the train was three miles
away when it blew up.
Oh, come now! You threw a time bomb.
How could I have had a time bomb?
They searched me when they took me
And the way you search your prisoners,
it does sound rather unlikely.
All I know is he did it. I am
I am not. According to the Geneva
Is there anything about letting a
guy sleep in the Geneva Convention?
He has shuffled over to the sofa, and plunks himself down --
(to the Geneva Man)
You were saying --?
Simply this. After the hostilities
are ended, there will be such a thing
as a War Crimes Commission. If this
man should be convicted without proper
proof, you will be held responsible,
Colonel von Scherbach.
The Geneva Man looks straight into von Scherbach's eyes. Von
Scherbach doesn't like the look. He picks up the black queen
and tosses it again.
Very well. If you insist on details.
I have ways of finding out about
that blasted time bomb. Good day,
You will forgive me for receiving
you like this?
Perfectly all right. I do not like
As the Geneva Man exits --
Wie ist es moeglich dass dieser
Amerikaner eine Bombe bei sich hatte?
Er wurde doch bei der Gefangennahme
Jawohl, Herr Kommandant.
Finden Sie es heraus -- und zwar
Zu Befehl, Herr Kommandant.
Von Scherbach tosses him the black queen.
QUICK DISSOLVE TO:
INT. BARRACK 4 - (DAY)
START ON black queen now with the other chess pieces on the
table. PAN UP to disclose the barrack and the electric light,
its cord now looped.
Sefton is lying in his bunk, dressed. Cookie above him in
his bunk. At the center table, Harry, Stosh, Blondie and
Bagradian are decorating the Christmas tree with their dogtags
and hand-made candles. Joey sits there watching them. Blondie
takes off Joey's dogtags and puts them on the tree. One of
the P.O.W.s is WHISTLING Silent Night.
Sitting on a stool is Triz. He is knitting a little baby's
garment. He pauses as a thought disturbs him, then:
I believe it. I believe it.
He goes on with the knitting.
Through the door come Duke and Price, followed by two P.O.W.s
from another barrack. One P.O.W. is carrying an old-fashioned
phonograph, the other some records.
Put it down, boys.
Hey, -- music!
We made a deal with Barrack One.
Any news on Dunbar?
He's still in the Kommandant's office.
That's all I know.
The P.O.W.s from Barrack One have deposited the phonograph
and the records on the table.
They follow him to Sefton's bunk.
Let's have that distillery. Come on.
Cookie looks down at Sefton for permission.
What are you looking at him for?
Any objections, Sefton?
The P.O.W.s climb on Sefton's bunk and start taking down the
distillery, which is piled up in Cookie's bunk.
Next we're going to auction off your
department store -- and your stable.
At the table, Price finishes cranking the machine. Harry
puts on a record and Price starts it playing. The tune is:
When Johnny Comes Marching Home. The guys start crowding
Meanwhile, Stosh has been watching the P.O.W.s from Barrack
One take down the distillery. As they start out, he grabs up
an empty glass jar, follows them surreptitiously and, in
moving, siphons off a stream of booze into the glass jar.
One of the P.O.W.s catches him.
(slapping his hand)
Hey! That goes with it!
They pull the hose out of the glass jar and leave. Stosh,
however, has gotten himself a pint of Schnapps.
At the table Harry and a few others start singing with the
record. Everybody has gathered around except Sefton and
Cookie. Price moves over to his bunk, (PAN with him). As he
takes off his jacket his eyes fall on --
The loop in the electric cord.
Price. His eyes narrow for a split second. Then he takes his
cap off, cases the situation. The P.O.W.s are at the
phonograph. Sefton lies in his bunk, his eyes toward the
wall. Cookie climbs down to join the others. Nonchalantly,
Price crosses toward the lamp. He stands at the table with
his back towards the barrack. Picks up the black queen, pulls
the top off, palms a small piece of paper, puts the top back
and places the chess piece back on the chess board. He is
about to read, but -- Some of the P.O.W.s come marching down
the barrack toward Price in a take-off of a homecoming parade,
led by Harry and Stosh.
Price stands there, the note in his fist. After they have
passed, he opens his hand, reads the palmed note, puts it in
his pocket. He looks after the others who are now marching
down at the other end of the barrack. Casually, he pulls the
slip noose out of the light cord, and walks toward the center
Sefton, lying in his bunk, sees the shadow of the bulb and
the light cord on the wall, swinging gently back and forth.
It doesn't make too much of an impression on him. However,
he definitely notices it and looks around for the cause. He
dismisses it and lies back in his bunk.
The Johnny Comes Marching Home number is over and Bagradian
now goes into an impersonation of Lionel Barrymore, as the
mayor of a small town, welcoming home the returning warriors --
and Jimmy Stewart answering for the soldiers. (To be worked
out later). During this, Price has joined them.
Do Cary Grant.
Naw! Do Grable!
He goes into a short impersonation of Clark Gable.
Grable, not Gable!
Do Jimmy Durante!
Do Cagney. Like you did yesterday.
(a la Cagney)
There was that ammunition train in
the depot at Frankfurt, see? So Dunbar
gets himself in the men's room and
fixes a time bomb, see? Then he waits
until the train starts moving out,
see? And one of the cars got the
door open with some straw on the
floor, see? So he throws it, see,
and three minutes later -- voom!
Throws what? How could he have a
Just pulled the old match gag, see!
What's the match gag?
Take some matches, see?
(takes a book of
matches from his
And a cigarette, see?
(takes a burning
cigarette from Triz'
Tuck the cigarette in like this,
(tucks the cigarette
inside cover of match-
book with the lit
end sticking out)
Now the cigarette keeps burning like
a fuse, see?
Say, that's a dandy!
(as it sinks in)
Yeah. Pretty clever.
Hey, here's Esther Williams.
He bends his head over and taps his ear, as if to shake out
water. No laugh.
Do Cary Grant.
Bagradian goes into a take-off on Cary Grant. Price leans
his head against a bunk-post, completely relaxed.
INT. BARRACK 4 - (EVENING)
The lights are on. In the foreground, our bulb, with a loop
in the cord again. A Christmas party is in progress. On the
center table, the pitiful little tree is lit. All the P.O.W.s
in the barrack are huddled around the table, most of them
sitting on the bunks. They are singing Adeste Fideles. It is
bitter cold. Outside the wind is howling. They are wrapped
in blankets and most of them wear gloves.
As for Sefton, he is lying in his bunk, a pariah. Duke comes
over from the group, pulls Sefton's foot-locker out and starts
taking out the bottles of Rhine wine.
Where's the corkscrew?
He finds it, puts it in his pocket.
Have a cigar.
He takes a cigar, puts it in his mouth and goes off with the
wine. As Sefton looks after him, his eyes are caught by the
light cord and the noose in it. He stares at it.
The P.O.W.s around the tree are SINGING, Price prominently
in the foreground. Duke has come with the wine and starts
opening it. Stosh nudges Joey who sits next to him and points
to a lone little package under the tree.
Hey, Joey -- there's a present for
Joey doesn't move. Stosh picks it up.
Want me to open it for you?
He opens it. It's the crude ocarina he carved out of wood.
Joey's eyes flicker. He takes the ocarina and starts playing
weird SOUNDS on it. The boys look at him, delighted.
There, Joey -- ain't that better
than being a lawyer?
Animal! Got a little something for
He produces from behind his back a package, wrapped with
Got a little something for you, too!
He takes out a package from inside his blanket.
I'll open mine now.
I'll open mine, too.
They start opening their presents. It becomes apparent that
each has given the other a roll of sanitary paper.
HARRY AND STOSH
(throwing their arms
around each other)
You're a doll! Just what I wanted!
How did you know!
From the compound, a SIREN is heard. And shouts, Lights Out!
The singing stops.
Air raid warning.
Not Christmas Eve!
Come on, everybody. Let's get out.
Let's hit those slit trenches.
I'm not really built for war.
They blow out the candles. Simultaneously, the lights are
turned off. The men start rushing out. Outside, through the
door, men from other barracks can be seen hurrying by.
Sefton sits up in his bunk, looking at the electric cord.
The bulb is dark now.
Out, out everybody!
Sefton looks off.
Schulz has come through the door and is herding them out.
You must get out. For your own good,
you must get out.
Come on, everybody!
Schulz has come up to Sefton.
What's the matter with you? You want
to be killed?
He picks up his leather jacket and moves toward the door
where the other P.O.W.s are crowding out.
(to Stosh and Harry
who are lingering
Must you always be the last?
Oh, yeah? You jump in those trenches
first and everybody jumps on top of
How do you think I got my hernia?
Price pushes them out. Dawdles at the door, closes it from
inside. He is alone with Schulz in the dark barrack.
Schulz has gone over to the chess board, has picked up the
black queen, opened it. There is no message. Price comes up
Nun? Was ist? Haben Sie's
Ich weiss alles.
Wie hat er's gemacht?
Ganz einfach... Streichhoelzer...
und eine Zigarette...
He takes a book of matches and puts a lighted cigarette in
Passen Sie auf!
The "time bomb" goes off, lighting up their faces.
Ach so!... ACH SO!
There is a broad grin on his face. Then he and Price move
out of the barrack, quickly. As they go out the door --
(calling off, with
Air raid! Air raid! Everybody in the
Now the barrack is empty. Except for one thing: from behind
one of the rear bunks, Sefton steps out. He puts a cigar in
his mouth, lights it. There is a gleam in his eye.
END OF SEQUENCE "E"
INT. BARRACKS 4 - (DAY)
The phonograph, on the center table, is playing: I Love You.
About a dozen P.O.W.s are dancing with each other, among
them, Triz, leading Harry, Blondie, leading a bearded P.O.W.
The whole thing is very elegant, with new guys cutting in,
politely. One of the P.O.W.s sings into a mike, consisting
of a stick stuck into a knothole in the table with a tin can
So it got to be Christmas Day in
Stalag 17. As it turned out, it was
more like the Fourth of July -- with
all the fireworks that were to go
off all at once and bust the camp
wide open. It sure started off
innocently enough, with a party going
on in every barracks...
Sefton, propped up in his bunk, is watching the proceedings.
In back of him, against the window, sits Cookie. Sefton's
eyes never leave --
Price, who is near the phonograph with Pirelli and another
P.O.W. They are supplying a makeshift jazz accompaniment,
playing on a washboard, drumming on the table and strumming
a bass fiddle string attached to a bucket.
Sefton. There is a look of cynical amusement on his face as
he takes this in.
A P.O.W. tags Triz to cut in. Harry holds out his arms. He
is ready. But the P.O.W. dances off with Triz, leaving Harry
flat. Harry looks over to Stosh.
Stosh lies in his bunk, drinking what's left of the booze he
swiped from the distillery. He is staring at the pin-ups of
Grable pasted on the ceiling of his bunk.
Come on, Animal -- let's trip the
Let me alone.
You're crying, Animal.
It's that song, Harry!
(seeing the pin-up)
You don't want to cry over a dame
that doesn't even know you're alive!
Snap out of it!
There's a time in every man's life
when he wants to be alone! So go
He takes another swig and lets down the big pin-up so it
hangs a few inches in front of his eyes.
Harry turns away from Stosh, picks up a pilot cap, turns it
inside out so the yellow fur shows on top, puts it on. He
gets some straw out of a hole in a mattress and tucks it
under the cap like curls.
All right, boys, who wants the Queen
of the May?
A P.O.W. drops his partner and dances Harry off.
Sefton, in his bunk, watching Price all the time.
Any cigars left, Cookie?
No answer from Cookie.
Come on, Cookie. Get me a cigar.
Cookie doesn't move.
What's the matter? You on their team
now? You think I'm the guy?
I don't know anymore.
Sefton goes to the raided footlocker for a last tattered
I understand how you feel, Cookie.
It's sort of rough -- one American
squealing on other Americans. Then
again, Cookie -- maybe that stoolie's
not an American at all. Maybe he's a
German the Krauts planted in this
barracks. They do this type of thing.
Just put an agent in with us -- a
trained specialist. Lots of loose
information floating around a prison
camp. Not just whether somebody wants
to escape, but what outfits we were
with and where we were stationed,
and how our radar operates. Could
be, couldn't it?
In this barracks?
Why not? Just one of the boys. Sharing
our bunks. Eating our chow. Right in
amongst the ones that beat me up.
Except that he beat hardest.
Who is it?
That's not the point, Cookie. The
point is what do you do with him?
You tip your mitt and the Jerries
pull him out of here and plant him
someplace else, like Stalag Sixteen
or Fifteen. Or you kill him off and
the Krauts turn around and kill off
the whole barracks. Every one of us.
So what do you do?
Who is it?
Sefton doesn't answer.
If you don't want to tell me, why
don't you tell Hoffy? Or Security?
He just sits there, smoking and looking in the direction of --
Price at the middle table. Bagradian steps up to Price, who
is busy beating out the rhythm. The P.O.W. is no longer
Where's Hoffy? Why don't we get any
news about Dunbar?
Don't worry. He'll be all right.
I had to be the ham! I had to shoot
off my mouth!
Forget it. He'll be back here. They've
got no proof.
Harry seats himself on the table, tossing his curls.
(to the rhythm boys)
Sweet and soft, boys. Beguile me.
Stosh in his bunk. He drains the booze from the jar, looks
out at the room through tear blurred eyes. He sees:
Harry sitting on the table, listening to the music. He is in
the identical pose Betty Grable has struck in the big pin-up
Stosh's eyes go back to the big pin-up photo. He looks back
Harry. By now it is not Harry who is sitting there. It is
Betty Grable, or rather the pin-up photo superimposed in the
same size as Harry.
Stosh blinks his eyes. He stares some more. Delirious
happiness dawns on his face. He climbs out of his bunk and
walks toward Harry, in a trance.
He has reached the table, bows politely to Harry.
May I have this dance, Miss?
He climbs off the table. Stosh puts his arm around very
elegantly and dances him off.
Who would've ever thought I'd be
holding you in my arms?
A peculiar expression comes over Harry's face.
Pinch me, will you? Pinch me so I'll
know I'm not dreaming.
Harry reaches up and pinches him heartily on the cheek.
Thank you, darling!
Again, a reaction from Harry as they dance on. Stosh sings a
few bars of I Love You with the record. His cheek is very
close to Harry. He is lost in blissful romance.
Did anybody ever tell you you have
the most beautiful legs in the world?
Harry does a big take.
But it's not just those legs. It's
that nose of yours I'm crazy about.
That cute little button of a nose!
(the situation begins
to seep through)
Hey, Animal! Animal!
(sweeping on madly)
I've been crazy about you for years.
I've seen every picture you've ever
made six times. I'd just sit there
and never even open that popcorn
(breaking from him)
Animal! Animal! Wake up!
He starts slapping his face.
(taking off his wig)
This is me, Animal! It's Harry
Stosh stares at him. The truth dawns on him. He starts bawling
like a child.
Hoffy hurries in from the compound. He is followed by Duke,
Marko and The Crutch.
Cut that music! Cut it! Listen!
The S.S. Men are here to pick up
Dunbar. They're taking him to Berlin.
Looks like he's finished.
Only he ain't quite finished yet.
Blondie -- get that smudge pot. Tie
it to Steve's leg.
Blondie gets the can of smoke-powder and, as the scene
progresses, fastens it in The Crutch's empty pants' leg.
What are you going to do?
I want everybody out of here. We'll
need a lot of commotion on the
I'll get the men from the other
You don't think you can snatch Dunbar?
Not from the S.S.?
We're sure going to make a stab at
it. You, Price and Stosh and Harry
and Blondie -- be at the north
latrine. You'll all get your posts.
Now everybody start drifting out
Easy, boys, easy. Disperse out there
nicely and always remember just
because the Krauts are dumb that
doesn't make them stupid.
The men start filing out through both doors quietly.
(to Price, Stosh,
Harry and Duke)
Okay. Move on.
The Crutch, Blondie, Harry and Stosh leave.
I don't know what your scheme is,
but it sounds crazy.
Maybe it's crazy, but it's better
than having Dunbar dead.
Just as you say, Hoffy. But wouldn't
it be smarter if I went out and kept
Schulz tied up?
I wouldn't worry about Schulz. I'd
worry about Sefton. Remember me? I'm
You ain't going to squeal this one,
No? Aren't you a little afraid to
turn the stoolie loose on that
compound? For a tip-off like this,
you know what the Krauts would pay?
You'll stay in this barracks and not
a peep out of you.
Okay, then. Put a guard on me. I
want you to put a guard on me. Because
if anything goes wrong out there,
this time you won't have a patsy.
So who stays with me? Maybe Joey? No --
not Joey. Wouldn't you feel safer
with Security on the job?
Okay, Price. You stay.
What about Schulz?
We'll take care of Schulz.
(to the others)
They all follow Hoffy out, leaving Price and Sefton.
They stand for a while looking at each other. From OFF come
some WEIRD NOTES on the ocarina.
Joey sits in his bunk, playing on his new sweet potato.
That's the boy, Joey. Play us a little
something. What do you want to hear,
Price? Home On The Range? Or maybe a
No answer from Price.
Or how about a game of pinochle? No,
you're not a pinochle man. You're a
(moves to chess board)
I haven't played since I was a kid.
Let's see --
(maneuvers the white
-- a pawn moves this way, doesn't
it? And a bishop this way? And the
queen -- every which way, doesn't
Suppose you just sit down and keep
your mouth shut.
I went to school with a guy named
Price. But that was in Boston. You're
from Cleveland, aren't you.
Yes, I'm from Cleveland.
I thought that's what you said. You're
from Cleveland. And you were with
the Thirty-sixth Bomb Group?
Three hundred and sixty-fifth Bomb
Squadron? Out of Chelveston?
Are you questioning me?
Just getting acquainted. Trying to
make one friend in this barracks.
Don't bother, Sefton. I don't like
you. I never did and I never will.
A lot of people say that and the
first thing you know is they get
married and live happily ever after.
(goes to window)
I wonder what they're trying to pull
EXT. COMPOUND - (DAY)
Several hundred P.O.W.s are casually strolling about the
compound. The CAMERA MOVES TOWARDS the Administration Building
PAST an S.S. car parked on the roadway, with the motor
running. An S.S. driver stands at the car door. Harry and
Stosh stand by the car, inspecting it. CAMERA MOVES ON PAST
the flagpole, against which leans Duke, and ON TO the porch
of the Administration Building: there stands Hoffy, reading
the bulletin board. Only he isn't reading it. From one corner
of his eye he is peeking through the window into the
Kommandant's office. Suddenly he reacts to a movement inside.
Without turning, he gives the signal: he throws one end of
his muffler around his neck.
Duke, at the flagpole, gets it and throws his muffler around
his neck, thusly relaying the signal.
At the car, Harry follows suit.
Marko, leaning against the north latrine, catches the signal
and, still facing the compound, RAPS with his knuckles on
the wooden boards.
INT. NORTH LATRINE - (DAY)
The Crutch is sitting on the wash trough. On hearing the
RAPS, Bagradian pulls up The Crutch's loose pants' leg.
Blondie strikes a match and lights the fuse on the smudge
pot. Bagradian pulls down the pants' leg. They help The Crutch
off the wash trough and he hobbles out.
EXT. COMPOUND - (DAY)
The Crutch is slowly hobbling toward the car, a thin wisp of
smoke curling up from his pants' leg.
Out of the Administration Building emerge two S.S. Men,
leading Dunbar between them. Hoffy, standing at the bulletin
board, WHISTLES a few bars of the Air Force song. Dunbar
turns, sees Hoffy whistling. Hoffy doesn't look at him, but
Dunbar senses that something is in the wind. He walks on
between the S.S. Men. As he is being led toward the car,
still some thirty feet away, P.O.W.s crowd in to watch him.
The Crutch, hobbling on from the direction of the latrine,
is some twenty feet from the car.
Duke straightens up from the flagpole casually, and starts
sauntering toward the car.
The latrine. Blondie and Bagradian have moved out of the
latrine and stand there with Marko, watching the car.
Harry and Stosh at the car. Stosh tightening the belt of his
coat, Harry pulling the barracks cap tight on his head.
The driver of the car opens the door. The S.S. Men and Dunbar
are some eight feet away now.
The Crutch, hobbling past the car, releases a string and the
smudge pot drops as he moves on. He barely makes it. Almost
instantly, there is a belch of fire and smoke starts pouring
out of the smoke bomb.
The wind billows the smoke across the car, rapidly enveloping
the S.S. Men and Dunbar. There are German SHOUTS from within
the smoke cloud.
Duke, Harry, Stosh, Blondie, Bagradian, Marko and Hoffy move
into the smoke from all sides. All now is lost in smoke.
Just silhouettes of men rushing about. SHOUTS, German
commands, SOUNDS of scuffling. From OFF a siren starts to
sound. German guards come running from all corners of the
compound into the cloud.
In the goon towers, the guards wheel around their machine
guns, but don't dare to shoot into the smoke.
From the Administration Building storms von Scherbach,
followed by the two Lieutenants, Schulz and other guards.
They dash into the smoke cloud, which starts lifting.
THE COMPOUND - THROUGH THE WINDOW OF BARRACKS 4
The smoke cloud starts to clear. At the car, the two S.S.
Men and the driver stand with guns in their hands. Dunbar is
gone. The other P.O.W.s stand around innocently. Von Scherbach
is screaming his head off, but his words are not heard. CAMERA
PULLS BACK INTO Barracks 4, revealing Sefton and Price at
the window. Sefton turns from the window, a little smile on
What did you say?
Amazing, what you can do with five
thousand ping-pong balls, isn't it?
Price is pacing. Joey starts tootling again.
Stop that, will you!
Those idiots! So they sprang Dunbar!
So what good is it? He's still in
the compound, isn't he? How long can
he last? Where can they hide him?
Where. Up Joey's ocarina. Didn't you
Price looks at him.
EXT. COMPOUND - (DAY)
All the P.O.W.s are formed into a line that serpentines toward
a desk set up on the porch of the Administration Building.
Light machine guns have been set up around them, the guards
watching carefully. Behind the desk sit the two German
Lieutenants, and in back of them stands Schulz. Every P.O.W.,
as he passes, is screened by the Lieutenants, then dogtags
and faces being checked against an index of cards and
photographs on the desk.
Yeah? Where did we hide him? Nobody
knew that except Hoffy -- not one of
us -- and he wouldn't talk. It sure
drove the Krauts crazy looking for
Dunbar. They herded us all out into
the compound and put some extra
machine guns on us and gave us the
old picture check. You know, checking
our dogtags and our pans...
Pirelli, Blondie, Hoffy and Duke file by. The next in line
is Price, followed by Sefton. As Price is being checked, his
eyes meet Schulz's. Schulz looks at him inquisitively. The
only answer on Price's face for a split second is: "I don't
know". But he's got to watch himself as he is followed by
A barracks: Guards with dogs are searching under it.
Another barracks: German guards throw tear gas bombs into it
and close the doors.
The compound. All the P.O.W.s are now lined up in long lines
facing the Administration Building. Von Scherbach, standing
on the porch flanked by the S.S. Men, his Lieutenants and
Schulz, lets go with a tirade. THE CAMERA SWOOPS BACK from
his face over the lined-up P.O.W.s all the way to the south
latrine and UP AND OVER the water tank. As it now PANS INTO
the water tank, we see Dunbar. He is hiding in the water
tank, up to his knees in icy water. He is weak and drawn and
he has to hold on not to collapse.
...against their index file. They
searched under the barracks. They
searched the roofs. They even searched
the bathroom in the Kommandant's
office, but no Dunbar. Then they
tried to smoke him out, throwing
tear gas bombs into every barracks,
just in case he was hiding up in the
rafters. Then they made us stand for
six hours out there until finally
von Scherbach came out and gave us
his ultimatum: if Dunbar didn't come
out by next morning he'd raze the
whole lous; compound, stick by stick
and if we'd sleep in the mud for the
rest of our lives, that was okay by
him. I thought he'd bust his gut the
way he was screaming. He just couldn't
figure how a guy could disappear
from the compound and still be there,
but Dunbar was there all right. He
sure was there.
EXT. COMPOUND - (NIGHT)
From the goon towers lights are sweeping over the compound,
the dark barracks and the barbed wire fences.
He was there for half the night, his
feet right in the icy water. That's
tough to take, especially when you
got three heated pools at home. It
took a lot of guts, the kind you'd
expect from a sergeant -- but a
WATER TANK - ABOVE THE LATRINE - (NIGHT)
Dunbar, exhausted, is clinging desperately to the ladder
inside the tank, his feet in the icy water. Over the tank
sweeps the light from a goon tower.
EXT. BARRACKS 4 - (NIGHT)
The Hundefuehrer is leading his dogs past the dark barracks.
Not a sound from within.
INT. BARRACKS 4 - (NIGHT)
Blankets are hanging over the windows. On the center table
burns a margarine lamp. All the men from Barracks 4 are
gathered around the table. All except Joey and Sefton. In
the center of the table is one of the P.O.W.s' cap. The men,
one by one, are dropping their dogtags into it.
(putting in his own
Let's have it understood men -- this
is going to be a rough deal. But we
have no choice. One of us must take
Dunbar out of the camp tonight. Right
away. We'll draw one dogtag and the
guy who goes with it does the job.
It's going to be rough because the
Krauts have put on extra guards and
they are expecting a move like this.
So if anyone wants to withdraw, he
better speak up now.
He looks around. Nobody moves.
Then we're all in on it?
Everybody but Joey, and you know
They shoot a look towards Sefton. Sefton stands leaning
against his bunk. He looks right back at them.
Back at the table.
Who's the lucky one?
He shakes the dogtags in the cap. Everyone crowds around,
Let me do it, Hoffy.
You want to go?
No. I want to draw.
(holding out cap)
Harry closes his eyes, puts his hand deep into the cap and
picks out a tag. But before anybody can look at it, Price
closes his fist over it.
Suppose we call this my tag. I'll
take him out.
The men turn toward Price.
No volunteers, Price. I said we're
all in on it.
You have elected me Security. The
way things have been going in this
Barracks, I guess I've done a poor
job and I want to make up for it. Is
that asking too much?
Sefton, standing against the bunk, takes it in with a grim
We've all done a poor job of it.
I still say this is my tag. Any
Any objections, men?
Not from me.
He can have it.
Who are we to argue with a hero?
How about me latching on, Price?
Three's a crowd, especially if you've
got to cut your way through barbed
(hands Price wire
Here's the wire cutters.
Are the civilian clothes ready?
into duffel bag)
(to Harry and Stosh)
Get going on the trap door.
They move to the old trap door and start unscrewing it. Price
goes to his bunk, Hoffy with him. Price starts putting on
What do you say, Hoffy. We'll hit
the air raid trenches and cut out in
back of Barracks nine.
You'd better cut out in back of the
Why the south latrine?
Because that's where he is. In the
Price takes it smoothly.
Good spot. With any luck we'll make
Krems by morning, or maybe even catch
a barge to Linz.
Sefton, who has been watching closely, tosses two packs of
cigarettes on the table.
Two packs of cigarettes say Dunbar
never gets out of the compound.
You starting that again?
They all look at him.
(from the trap door)
Somebody step on that crumb!
We warned you, Sefton!
Sure you warned me. You were going
to slit the throat of that stoolie.
He throws an open jack-knife onto the table. The blade sticks.
The knife quivers.
Here's the knife to do it with. Only
make sure you got the right throat.
We're looking at it.
(to Harry and Stosh)
Hurry up on that trap.
What are you trying to do, Sefton?
Gum up the works?
That's right. Or would you rather
see Dunbar lying out there in the
mud tomorrow morning like Manfredi
Look, Sefton, I had my hands full so
they wouldn't tear you apart --
I called it the last time, didn't I?
Are we going to stand around here
and listen to him until the Germans
find out where Dunbar is?
The Germans know where Dunbar is.
How do they know?
You told them, Hoffy.
You off your rocker?
Uh-huh. Fell right on my head.
Sprechen sie deutsch?
No. I don't sprechen sie deutsch.
Maybe just one word? Kaput? Because
you're kaput, Price.
Will you get this guy out of my hair
so I can go?
Go where? To the Kommandant's office
and tell him where Dunbar is?
(starting for him)
I'll kill you for that!
(slaps his face)
Security Officer, eh? Screening
everybody, only who screened you?
Great American hero. From Cleveland,
Ohio! Enlisted right after Pearl
Harbor! When was Pearl Harbor, Price?
Or, don't you know?
December seventh, forty-one.
Six o'clock. I was having dinner.
Six o'clock in Berlin. They were
having lunch in Cleveland.
(to the others)
Am I boring you, boys?
He's a Nazi, Price is. For all I
know, his name is Preismaier or
Preissinger. Sure, he lived in
Cleveland, but when the war broke
out he came back to the Fatherland
like a good little Bundist. He spoke
our lingo so they put him through
spy school, gave him phony dogtags --
He's lying! He's just trying to get
himself off the hook!
Shut up, he said.
You heard him.
Okay, Herr Preismaier, let's have
the mail box.
The one you took out of the corner
of your bunk and put in this pocket.
He snatches a black queen out of Price's coat pocket.
Now let me show you how they did it.
They did it by mail. That's right.
Little love notes between our Security
Officer and von Scherbach with Schulz
the mail man.
(ties up a loop in
the light cord)
Here's the flag.
(opening a black queen)
And here's the mail box.
(grins at Price, who
Cute, isn't it? They delivered the
mail or picked it up when we were
out of the barracks, like for Appell.
When there was a special delivery,
they'd pull a phony air raid to get
us out of here, like for instance,
(to Price again)
There wasn't a plane in the sky --
or was there, Price?
Price dives for the open trap door. He is caught by Duke. He
breaks away and flings himself at the window, tearing down
He never gets the whole word out. Stosh and Harry jump him,
Stosh clamping his hand over his mouth. They throw him to
the floor and all duck as the light from the goon tower swoops
through the barracks.
EXT. COMPOUND - (NIGHT)
The Hundefuehrer, leading the dogs past Barracks Nine. The
dogs sense something, and bark. The Hundefuehrer looks around.
The dogs calm down and the Hundefuehrer goes on.
INT. BARRACKS 4 - (NIGHT)
Everybody is petrified. The barking dies down. Blondie and
Triz hang the blanket again.
Two P.O.W.s move in and take over.
Duke moves up to Sefton.
Brother, were we all wet about you!
(putting a cigar butt
into his mouth)
He strikes a match on Duke's stubbled cheek and lights the
cigar. It doesn't hurt Duke a bit. He just stands there with
a broad grin.
What are we going to do with him?
Don't you know? Because I got my own
Let's have that civilian stuff.
Blondie gives him the barracks bag. Sefton opens it, takes
out a Tyrolean hat, puts it on. It is too small.
I'll look pretty stupid in this,
yodelling my way over those Alps.
Now let's have the wire cutters.
Pirelli takes them out of Price's belt and gives them to
You taking Dunbar?
You betcha. There ought to be some
reward money from Mama. Say ten
thousand bucks worth.
He starts putting on his jacket and his cap, the eyes of
every P.O.W. in the barracks on him.
I told you boys I'm no escape artist,
but for the first time, I like the
odds. Because now I got me a decoy.
What's the decoy?
Price. When I go I want you to give
me five minutes. Exactly five minutes
to get Dunbar out of that water tank.
Then you throw Price out into the
compound, nice and loud. He'll draw
every light from every goon tower.
It's our only chance to cut through.
What do you say, Barracks' Chief?
What's the matter, Price? You said
you were going to save Dunbar, didn't
you? So now, you're getting your
Sefton has picked up the barracks bag and the wire cutters
and moves toward the trap door.
So long, Cookie. The department store
is all yours. What's left of it.
So long, Sefton.
You're not disposing of those Russian
Tell you what to do. First, get
yourself a hundred cigarettes for
the Kraut guards. Then get yourself
You could use a new one yourself.
Let's synchronize the watches. Eleven
He climbs down into the open trap. All the men crowd around
to say goodbye.
One more word. If I ever run into
any of you bums on a street corner,
just let's pretend we never met
He takes the cigar butt out of his mouth, puts it into Duke's
half-open mouth -- and goes. There is a moment of silence.
This barracks will never be the same.
UNDERNEATH BARRACK 4 - (NIGHT)
Sefton is crawling cautiously in the direction of the latrine.
Behind him, the trap door is being fitted into the floor
EXT. COMPOUND - (NIGHT)
Sefton has crawled to the edge of the barracks, waits for a
light to swoop by. Then he dashes into the latrine just in
time to evade another searchlight from a goon tower.
INT. LATRINE - (NIGHT)
Sefton recovers his breath, listens for a second, then climbs
up on the wash trough. He raps on the bottom of the water
INT. WATER TANK - (NIGHT)
Dunbar, utterly exhausted, is clinging to the ladder, his
legs submerged in the icy water. He hears the signal. There
is a flicker in his eyes. He hears another signal. With his
last strength, he climbs the ladder, waits for a light to
swoop by, then works himself over the top.
INT. LATRINE - (NIGHT)
Sefton has climbed on a beam above the wash trough. Dunbar's
legs come down, dripping wet. Sefton gets hold of them, then
as Dunbar lets go above, he takes his full weight and lowers
him to the wash trough. Dunbar lies there, gasping.
Shut off the moaning, or we'll have
the dogs on us. Shut it off,
Lieutenant. This is orders!
My legs are frozen.
(rubbing his legs
You'd better get that blue blood
circulating, because we're busting
out of this stink-hole in exactly --
(looks at watch)
-- one minute and twenty seconds.
What did you expect, a St. Bernard
What some brandy?
Who doesn't! Suppose we wait until
we hit the Waldorf Astoria.
It's on me.
You won't get off that cheap.
What are the chances busting out of
(looking at his watch)
We'll know in forty seconds.
(then with a grin)
Only in a democracy can a poor guy
get his keister shot off with a rich
INT. BARRACKS 4 - (NIGHT)
Hoffy stands looking at his watch. Blondie is crossing with
the breadknife in his hand towards the door. Stosh and Duke
hold the gagged Price down on the bunk. Harry has strung
together some five old cans.
(to the bearded P.O.W.)
Hold his leg.
The P.O.W. sits on Price's leg. Harry starts tying the tin
cans to his ankle.
Just in case your Kameraden are hard
Fifteen seconds. Get him up.
Stosh and Duke pull Price up off the bunk and move him to
the door. He struggles and squirms.
Stop shaking, Price. There'll be no
pardon from no governor.
Funny, ain't it? In your own Vaterland --
by your own Soldaten!
The kid's got no sense of humor.
What's the matter with you, Security?
You were always so calm. Especially
when you let Manfredi and Johnson go
Open the hatch.
Blondie has inserted the breadknife in the crack of the door.
He now whips up the knife with a sharp movement.
EXT. BARRACKS 4 - (NIGHT)
The bar across the door swivels up. The door is flung open
from inside. Duke and Stosh hold Price. Hoffy tears the gag
off his mouth.
Let 'er go!
Duke and Stosh have lifted Price with all their might, and
give him a terrific heave. As Price comes flying out into
the compound, the tin cans clattering, the door is slammed
A light from a goon tower swings sharply to Price and holds
him in its beam. A burst of machine gun fire splatters around
him. He scrambles to his feet, screaming.
Schiesst nicht! Schiesst nicht! Ich
bin ein Deutscher!
His words are drowned out by more machine gun fire. He tries
to run back towards his barracks, but is cut off by another
beam and more machine gun fire from another goon tower. He
runs madly into the dark compound, the tin cans clattering
behind him -- lights from all the goon towers searching for
INT. LATRINE - (NIGHT)
Sefton and Dunbar stand at the door of the latrine,
searchlights swinging in arcs toward the compound. Sefton
holds the wire-cutters in his hand. There is the clatter of
the tin cans and machine gun fire, and Price's desperate
screams, "Nicht schiessen! Nicht schiessen!".
They duck out.
EXT. COMPOUND - (NIGHT)
Sefton and Dunbar dash across the short stretch to the barbed
wire. They fall on their faces at the wire and Sefton starts
Price. A machine gun bullet has struck him in the shoulder.
He desperately tries to evade the relentless light beams. He
manages to tear off the tin cans, runs on towards the
Administration Building. A couple of more bullets hit him.
He falls face down into the mud. All the lights converge on
him and the machine guns sputter away.
BARBED WIRE - (NIGHT)
Sefton is just cutting through the outer fence. In back of
him, Dunbar patches the cut wire of the inner fence. Beyond
them, all the lights play on the body of Price. The machine
guns are no longer shooting, but there are whistles and a
siren. The barking dogs tear into Price's body.
Sefton and Dunbar crawl through the outer wire and pause to
patch it up hastily.
Let's blow, Chauncey.
They get to their feet and scramble off into the forest.
EXT. COMPOUND - (NIGHT)
Von Scherbach comes striding out of the Administration
Building followed by a Lieutenant, the two S.S. Men and
Schulz. He wades cockily through the mud with his beautiful
boots towards the body on the ground. The Hundefueher calls
off his dogs. The other guards step back. With his boot, von
Scherbach flips the body over. The lights from the goon towers
play on the muddy face of Price. They all stand there stunned.
INT. BARRACKS 4 - (NIGHT)
The lamps are being put out; the blankets being pulled down
by the P.O.W.s.
All right, men. Everybody back in
their bunks like nothing happened.
They climb into their bunks. All is still.
What do you know? The crud did it.
I'd like to know what made him do
Maybe he just wanted to steal our
wire cutters. Ever think of that?
Cookie, in his bunk, a broad smile on his face, starts
whistling softly: When Johnny Comes Marching Home. Beyond
him lie all the P.O.W.s in the barracks, their hearts beating,
their eyes wide open.
EXT. FOREST - (NIGHT)
Sefton and Dunbar climb swiftly up a hill through the trees.
Dunbar's arm is over Sefton's shoulder as they march. OVER
THIS, Cookie's whistling of Johnny Comes Marching Home --
gradually augmented by drums and then an orchestra. Sefton
and Dunbar march on, in time to the music.
SUPERIMPOSED BEYOND THEM appear the other P.O.W.s from Stalag
17, their spirits marching with them through the forest. Way
in front, Stosh in his underwear, waving a makeshift flag.
Then comes Harry. Then Cookie. Then Triz and Blondie. Then
Joey, playing his ocarina in tune with the march, a smile on
his face. And Marko and The Crutch. Then Hoffy and Duke, and
all the others we have grown to know. All waving their
pathetic flags: towels, blankets and torn shirts. All marching
to freedom and home, marching with Sefton and Dunbar. As the
MUSIC SWELLS to a crescendo --
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