PBS' "Nova" series recently ran a program called "Nazi Prison Escape",
and of course the Glider was featured. The PBS
web site now has a page with details of the attempt.
NOVA - Nazi prison Escape - The Colditz Glider
Special thanks to Peter Saitta for bringing this info to my attention.
Want to own your own "Escape of the Birdmen" glider?
The web surfing skills of Peter Saitta discovered a scale paper model of the "Colditz Glider" at Fiddler's Green.
Here is the direct link to the glider: https://www.fiddlersgreen.net/models/Aircraft/Colditz-Glider
If you decide to purchase the model, send me pics and I will post them!
We seem to be coming across more pics relating to the film.
I may have to put together a new picture page soon.
Thanks to Melany and Joe Shapiro we now this image from a lobby card for the Mexican version of the movie.
I will be adding the translation as soon as I figure it out.
[Click here to view full size image]
Through the courtesy of fellow Ebay'er Mike Searle, I have obtained a pic of a Belgian
poster advertising the film!
[Click here to view full size image]
It appears that the poster is multi-lingual, with French in the upper right and Dutch in the lower left. The English title "Escape of the Birdmen" is in tiny writing below the French. I believe the translations to be:
"In the claws of the SS" (French)
"In the claws of the Nazi's" (Dutch)
It's pretty funny how they made Kommandant Schiller (Richard Basehart) look like the embodiment of evil. In the movie he is portrayed as an officer and a gentleman who respects the Allied officers for their flying skills. Anything to sell movie tickets, I guess.
Since "Operation Braindrain - Codename: Chessboard" was made for
British and European distribution, our current efforts to obtain copies of the film are now focusing there.
I have a contact in Switzerland who is attempting to locate copies anywhere on the continent. More info as it becomes available.
Recent investigation has shown that the European video release of
the movie, "Operation Braindrain - Codename: Chessboard", is slightly
different from the original that was re-broadcast after the
debut in 1971.
The video release has several scenes that are not included in the domestic version. Thrse is an extensive opening sequence of Allied bombers and pilot briefings, the meeting of Cook and Brevik in a Nazi workcamp and their escape, a flashback as Brevik recalls failing to meet the commandos sent in to Norway to get him out, and another flashback where Davies recalls the incident that caused his blindness.
The opening credits are overlayed on stock footage of aerial bombardments and dogfights, and the closing credits are omitted and replaced with an abupt "The End". All the extra footage adds nearly 20 minutes to the runtime.
Thinking back, I can remember seeing the two flashback scenes in the original broadcast, but I am not sure about the opening sequence. I am also sure that the closing credits were shown in the debut as well.
I have to think that the opening escape was NOT in the original broadcast, since the runtime of 90 minutes would have allowed no time at all for commercials. So, it appears that "Codename: Chessboard" is something akin to the "director's cut", and includes shots not used in the first TV showing.
|The Original TV Guide Ad||September 18, 1971|
|"The Birdmen" Movie Information||Stars, Credits, Trivia and Goofs from the Film|
|Die Gedanken Sind Frei||Words to the Movie Theme and Their Translation|
|Movie Audio Clips||.wav Format|
|Movie Screen Shots||.jpg images from the film|
|"The Birdmen"||Link to The Internet Movie Database|
|The Original Glider||The only known picture|
|The Colditz Glider||The account of the original glider by Wade Nelson|
|The Birdmen Fly 55 Years Later!||A replica of the original makes successful test flight!|
|The Colditz Castle Web Page||Link to a great site detailing the home of the original glider|