Friday, September 13, 2013

Library Journal Review

The 1963 film The Great Escape will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. Author Steinmetz (Wardlife) is related to the actor who played the Gestapo agent seen checking the passports of the three escapees and speaking to them briefly, in German, before leaving the train car. On screen for 57 seconds, the handsome, blond, part-Jewish Michael Paryla (who was not listed in the credits) died shortly after the end of filming. This book reconstructs Paryla’s life, using diaries, correspondence, and documentary evidence, and shows the many ways his life intersected with director John Sturges’s great war film. Steinmetz uses entries from his own travel journal to move the narrative forward and chronicle his attempt to understand Paryla’s story. The making of the film and Paryla’s complicated family history result in fascinating reading. Steinmetz’s writing style is at times elliptical and often intense, and he sometimes uses the concept of “scenes” as one would in a film. This is a text that requires attention, not swift perusal.

-Library Journal - September
Steinmetz, Andrew. This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla. Biblioasis. Oct. 2013. 256p. photos. ISBN 9781927428337. pap. $16.95. FILM

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