Don J Whistance's

The Great Escape Locations Site

 

   

 

The philosophical notion of a "sense of place," unexplained "place experiences" linked psychologically to the footsteps and the spirit of The Great Escape Film, underpins The Great Escape Locations Site which sets out to discover where the scenes were filmed in the Munich, Fussen, Pfronten and Hopfen Am See areas of southern Germany and to eventually locate the stretch of land where the 'jump' took place and where Steve McQueen crashed into The Great Escape iconic 'fence'.......

 

 

The Great Escape project involved John Sturges' Alpha Corporation, The Mirisch Company and United Artists, with a four million dollar budget, it opened in the United States on the fourth of July, 1963 to great reviews.

 

Actor Steve McQueen, star of 'The Great Escape', discussing picture with film's producers, the Mirisch Brothers.

Location - Hollywood,CA, USA

Date taken - June 1963

Operating out of the Samuel Goldwyn Studio and underwritten by United Artists, the prime objective of The Mirisch Company was to attract the best directors in town by promising them more control over the tools of production and an opportunity to share financially in the fruits of their labours.

To view this informative website in more detail, the photos, the stories, the travels then email me and list which pages from the CONTENTS you would like to view....

CONTENTS

Archives *****

The Making of The Great Escape Documentary *****

Deining - (Steve McQueen's Munich Home) *****

Bavaria Film Studio

Munich *****

Markt Schwaben

Penzing and Miesbach

Fussen

Pfronten

Hopfen Am See - (Steve McQueen's Fussen Home)

The jump and the fence

'Stooling' is the craze *****

The 2012 'Making of The Great Escape' Tour

Existentialism is the word*****

BLOG *****

The HAY BALE THEORY...click here *****

Tom Adams*****

David McCallum *****

Lawrence Montaigne *****

William Russell*****

Denise McCluggage*****

Where were the actors and the crew based in Munich during the filming at the Bavaria Studios and the surrounding area? *****

Where were the actors and crew based in Fussen during the filming of TGE? *****

The 2013 'tour'

The 2014 'tour'....thoughts*****

 

 

 

 

 

In retirement, Sturges insisted that there never was much of a script for what would become his greatest triumph.

John Sturges' Audio Track on 'The Great Escape' (1963) Laserdisc, Part 1

 

Visual History with Robert Relyea (1930-2013)

Interviewed by: Cleve Landsberg

Assistant director, UPM, producer and studio executive Robert Relyea discusses his work on some of the most significant films he worked on including West Side Story, Bullitt and The Magnificent Seven. Relyea explains the importance of safety on the set, why the second AD needs to know as much as the producer, and what not to say to the head of a studio.

Film producer and MGM/UA executive

OBITUARIES : ROBERT RELYEA, 1930 - 2013

by Susan King

 

 

Robert Relyea arrived in Munich in late April 1962 with the intention of commencing the picture on the 4th June at the Bavaria Studios with the completion date towards the end of August 1962.

 
Great Escape Question....
Hi Don,
I'm really enjoying your site, the photos, the stories, your travels.  I wanted to know if you have heard any stories or read anything about the Director, John Sturges giving any cigarette lighters to cast or crew of The Great Escape as gifts?  I believe I have one, that I just got, and was hoping to get some first hand account of it or them being given out.
If you don't know, perhaps you can lead me to someone who might?   It's getting harder to find anyone alive who worked on the film.
Thanks for your help,
Josh
 
Reference Books:  

Robert E.Relyea

 

(The Great Escape section pp.222-243)

 

(The Great Escape section: page 150 - 175)

 

(John Leyton)

 

 

Click on this superb CNQ BLOG....it reminds me of what I experienced when first setting out on finding the locations of The Great Escape....

 

 

 

Hello Don,
I wanted to let you know that my book is coming out in Canada in the fall, it will be called This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla.
You can link to an early chapter of it from my blog at
http://andrewsteinmetz.blogspot.ca/

Take care,
Andrew


 

Michael Paryla was an actor like his mother and father. Before his death in Hamburg, in 1967, he had a small part in John Sturge's The Great Escape. Actually, he played a Gestapo agent; and here he is on a train in the movie about to have words with Richard Attenborough and David McCallum. I have spent the last five years finding out about him.

The book will be called This Great Escape - The Case of Michael Paryla

 

LINKS

 

 

LE MANS

Steve McQueen Online

The Official Steve McQueen website

The Steve McQueen Film Poster Site

The First Steve McQueen Site

The Steve McQueen Site
The Great Escape Photos

Behind the Camera – The Great Escape

The Great Escape (1963)

The Great Escape, March 24: Rob Davis (Movie)
The Great Escape, March 24: Rob Davis (The Historical Facts)

Brief Background:

The Great Escape film locations were recorded using a digital camera; videos were uploaded onto YouTube and two loyal friends drove 2,000 miles in helping to capture this adventure during a  week in the month of August 2010....

 
Saturday, July 31st 2010 Drove to Dover. Caught the 11.15pm boat to Calais.
Sunday, August 1st Arrived at Calais at 2.00am - french time.
Drove 800 miles to Deining (north of Munich).....wrong Deining !!
Sunday, August 1st Booked into the Leonardo Hotel, Munich at 2.00pm......shattered !
Monday, August 2nd Arrived at Bavaria Film Studio at 11.00am for the English tour at 2.00pm.
Drove to Deining (southern Munich) and found the 'beautiful chalet.'
Drove on to Fussen. One double room found at 9.30pm. Slept on the floor.

 

 

 

Tuesday, August 3rd Booked an apartment room for two nights at the Guglhupf Hotel, Fussener Str.
Drove to the Pfronten area. Met the hairdresser Jackie (owner of the Frifeu salon in WeiBbach) who was 14 years old when the filming took place at the bottom of his road.Took time out and had a ride up a mountain in an Alpine lift, Pfronten.
Wednesday, August 4th Owner of the Guglhupf Hotel( www.hotelguglhupf.de ) / ( info@hotelguglhupf.de ) introduced Mac (real name Gunther Hundertmark) a retired DJ to us. Mac showed us The Great Escape locations in Fussen. Met Jackie who confirmed The Great Escape locations in the Pfronten area. Had a beer with him and his wife.
Thursday, August 5th Left Fussen and headed back to Calais travelling through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxumberg and Belgium. Broke up the journey in Luxemburg with a meal in the heart of the town centre......a pizza at The Pizza Hut !
Arrived at Calais a day early 1.00am and caught the 1.30am boat back to Dover.
Friday, August 6th  2010 Arrived at Dover at 2.30am(British time) and arrived in Weymouth at 7.00am...shattered !
 

 

 Returned to The Great Escape locations on Monday, 8th August 2011 using an easyjet flight and returned to Gatwick Airport on Thursday, 11th August 2011 with lots of thoughts and information.

Stayed at the superb Hotel Guglhupf.de info@hotelguglhupf.de

 

 

 Once again returned to The Great Escape locations on Monday, 6th August 2012 using again an easyjet flight and returned to Gatwick Airport on Friday, 10th August 2012 with fond memories....

Monika is the gorgeous owner of the high quality hotel and can be contacted on: info@hotelguglhupf.de

She is the one on the left............

 

IF YOU TAKE ON THIS JOURNEY AND ACTUALLY LOCATE

THE GREAT ESCAPE 'fence' and any related locations

THEN PLEASE EMAIL YOUR PICTURE AND IT WILL FEATURE

ON THIS WEBSITE......

 

The Great Escape Film was 50 years old on the fourth of July, 2013.... it has been decided to organise another 'tour' for all those fans interested in joining the celebration of the release of this iconic film.

Please contact me if you are interested in joining us from the 4th August 2014.The meeting point will be at the Hotel Guglhupf where hopefully all interested parties will reside....

 

Hi Don,

Kevin Hay from BBC News here. We have spoken before about your work on finding the Great Escape filming locations.  I have had some positive noises from my editor about commissioning a feature story about this but I have run into a problem with the timings. Because the anniversary of the film is July 4th we would need to film something ahead of this date. Do you think you would be able to go over to Bavaria with our reporter at some point between now and the beginning of July? If we can agree a date the BBC should be able to pick up flights and hotel bill’s for a short trip. How does that sound?

Kevin Hay, Senior Producer   BBC Network News (5.2.13)

 
August 4th 2014 tour members:
Hi Don,
Planning for my trip next year, hopefully third time lucky to finally to get to meet you and enjoy one of your tours. Do you know the dates in August that you plan to be in Munich for your search of the layout of the camp? Also do you still plan on going to Fussen?
There was reporter who was video taping the 2012 tour. Did you have a copy?
Will keep in touch,
Rob (6.11.13)

Personal comments from the The Great Escape Actors.....

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Jh6BiMGpcE

 Hi Don

I am writing to ask your advice on a trip I am planning to visit all the Great Escape Movie locations in Fussen etc. & would be grateful  for any advice you can give me & indeed any tours that you might be able to fix us up with. I am planning this trip with my wife & need to know when the exhibition ends at the Town Hall . I am travelling from the UK & would love to be able to stay at what used to be the Pergola hotel I think now is the Alpina!

I would be most grateful for any advice you can give me with my travel plans.

With Regards

Colin  (13.11.13)

 
Dear Don,
 
I just found your website. I think I´m one of the biggest fans of TGE. I would like to see more of all the fantastic information and photos you have as you wrote!!! Where do the stars based during filming? Do you know that???? I would like to know too! What do you know about the filming in Fuessen, in Hopfen and all the other places? I would like to come to your tour! Please answer as soon as possible. Is it possible to give you a "like" to your website? I would like to do that, ´cause your site is so amazing!
 
Best wishes to you
Kassie (2.12.13)

 
Dear Mr.Whistance,
my name is Reiner Guggenmos. I'm 43 years old and i live in Görisried. Thats 30 km away from the most locations of the movie. As i was a young boy, my mother told me, she have seen Steve McQueen and other castmembers at their work.And i planned to visit the locations one day. In 2012 i started my search. The most locations i have found by myself, but
it was harder as i imagined. This time i found your well done site. It helped me to match all the places.
Now i have photos of all locations in ever angles and sights. If you need some pictures please let me know.With pleasure i had been with you on your 2013-Tour,but sadly i have to work. But i try to be on tour with you and the other tge- fans 2014.
I want visit and view the whole content of your site, because its  great fun and inspiration for me to see the updates, pictures an news that come from all over the world.
Mr.Whistance, what have i to do, that i can see the whole content of the site ?
Best regards from Allgäu
                                              Reiner Guggenmos

P.S.: The crossroad is a minor way from outside pfronten  weissbach (there is a parking lot and a woddencross) to the roundabout on the left side. If you are interested, i send you some pictures.

Reiner (8.12.13)

 
Hi Don,

I will schedule a trip on « the great Escape » locations, and you site is the best on I think to do that.
Unfortunately some links are broken and I can’t find the right place and town where I have to go to be exactly on the right place.
Could you help ? (without disturbing you of course)

Many Thanks
Kind Regards

Jean-Michel (Versailles, France) - (24.12.13)

 

(Grunwalder Brucke)

(The McQueen's standing on the tower of Burg Grunwald {Grunwald Castle}, Bavaria, Munich)

 

(The McQueen's having a meal on the terrace of the Schlosshotel)

Hello Don,
There is a very well known Volksfest in Obermenzing (Pasing) called "Pasinger Volksfest"... (since 1905)
http://www.pasinger-volksfest.de/   

It is in August (like the date on your page) - this year 2014 it is from 30 July until 06 August 2014

Claudia (5.3.14)

Click on the image below for rare archive interview on the set of The Great Escape...

 

Hopefully, someone can contact and persuade Chad McQueen, Barbara McQueen, Neile McQueen Toffel, David McCallum, Tom Adams, John Leyton, Craig Relyea and anyone related with the film to join the fun...........

 

Chad McQueen on a Triumph Great Escape replica....

 

Don -- Thank you for your note.  I'm so impressed with the website and your passion for The Great Escape.  Of all the films my father was involved with over his career, The Great Escape is my favourite.  Along with Bullitt, that film has his imprint on it more than any of the other films he was a part of.  I spent a month with my father on location in and around Munich during the filming, I was 8 years old at the time so I don't remember a lot.  I'm sure it would be a fascinating experience to go back for the 50th celebration (my birthday is August 6th), but I don't believe my work schedule will allow it.  I'll be with you in spirit, as I know my father will be as well.
Best Regards,
Craig Relyea

 

Don...
I would love attending the tour in August but there is no possibility of that happening. Nor do I have any pictures of the scene. Sorry.
Denise McCluggage

Fussen Newspaper Article about The 2012 'Making of The Great Escape Tour'....click this  PDF for the original article or here for the English translation

RETRO
Hi Don
 
I'm running some photos of the Fussen locations and Great Escape exhibition by a reader in next issue. If you would like to send me a short press release about your site, I will include it in the article.
 
Best
Dave
 
Cinema Retro magazine (27.12.13)
 
Love movies from the 60s and 70s? Then subscribe to the magazine devoted to this brilliant era in cinema history. With contributions from Christopher Lee, James Caan, William Shatner, Michael Winner and a whole host more, check out www.cinemaretro.com and subscribe to the best film magazine in the world.
Hi Don

Of course. I will send you several. Cover attached. Can you put on your web site? I may be in Weymouth on April 25th, so maybe I could drop the magazines off and meet you.

Dave (9.4.13)

Let me know if you would like a copy of this magazine....

Roland Schaefli wrote: "Hi Don Did you want to attach Dave's email? Haven't gotten one. Still could not locate all of our participants. However, as far as I'm concerned, you have permission to use all photos that are used in Cinema Retro because I've already checked with my guys for the use in the magazine, so this would be OK. I'm sure you're familiar with the German book they issued last year, using photographs of the movie's 2nd unit DP. Did you think about publishing a "Making of The Great Escape" yourself yet? With the collaboration of Cinema Retro, this one could reach a lot of fans. Sure you have the background research down. The exhibition in Füssen showed me that there are a lot of people still around who could tell interesting stories. Best, Roland"

 

(Angus Lennie, David McCallum and John Leyton watch Steve McQueen as he prepares to Go-Karting with Bud Ekins and James Garner tinkering with the engine...)

I've found this website:
http://www.ak-racing-shop.de/kartbahn/index.php
There you can read that the Go-Kart track of Garching  Hochbrück is the only outdoor track in and around Munich since 1960... so it should be this one.

Claudia (5.3.14)

Steve McQueen in Fussen.....Behind the scenes

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDPnOQnXnvo

Same hillside.........50 years later !!

Please click here email if you wish to leave a message or to add any information to this website.

 

Website counter

 

Click here to start The Great Escape Journey