Escape by Night is the 1960 Italian war film directed by Robert Rossellini. Major Michael Pemberton, Sgt. Fyodor Nazukov, and Lt. Peter Bradley are all POWs who have escape from an Italian prison camp. They find shelter in the house of Esperia and her boyfriend, Renato. However, she is reluctant to do so because any Italian citizen who helps POWs will be killed. Despite all this, they all bond over their stressful situation. When tragedy strikes at Christmas, will they be able to escape the German police hunting them down?
This is less and escape movie than it is a wartime melodrama. That being said, it’s pretty good, although not every word is subtitled. Esperia is a believably flawed individual who doesn’t lose our sympathy. The story does have some problems when it loses track of what happened to Peter and we never find out what happened to him. Esperia’s speech at the end feels like a metaphor for Rossellini’s regret that Italy sided with the Nazis. This is a flawed but entertaining film. Honolulu war film fans should watch it.
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