The Great Escape (1963) Poster

Nigel Stock: Cavendish 'The Surveyor'



  • Bartlett : Gentlemen, no doubt you've heard the immortal words of our new commandant: devote your energies to things other than escape, and sit out the war as comfortably as possible.

    Sedgwick : [derisively]  Ha!

    Bartlett : Well, that's exactly what we're going to do. We're going to devote our energies to sports and gardening, all the cultural pursuits as far as they're concerned. In fact, we're going to put the goons to sleep. Meanwhile, we dig. Now, even a superficial look at the compound shows us that Huts 104 and 5 are closest to the woods. The first tunnel goes out from 105, directly east under the vorlager, the cooler, and the wire.

    Willie : But that's over three hundred feet, Roger!

    Bartlett : Did you make a survey, Dennis?

    Cavendish : Only a temporary one, sir. I make it just over three hundred and thirty-five feet.

    Bartlett : Let me know when you've got an exact one. Willie, this time we'll dig straight down thirty feet before we go horizontal. That'll rule out any question of sound detection or probing.

    Willie : All right, Roger. But did you say "the first tunnel"?

    Bartlett : I did. There will be three. We'll call them Tom, Dick, and Harry. Tom, as I said, goes out directly east from 104. Dick goes north from the kitchen, and Harry goes out parallel to Tom from 105. If the goons find one, we'll move into the other.

    MacDonald : How many men do you plan to take out, Roger?

    Bartlett : Two hundred and fifty.

    [Shocked stares] 

    Bartlett : There will be no half-measures this time, gentlemen. There will be identification papers and documents for everyone. And Griff, we'll need outfits for the lot.

    Griffith : Two hundred and fifty?

    Bartlett : Mostly civilian clothes.

    Griffith : Yes, but, um... okay, Roger.

    Bartlett : Mac. Maps, blankets, rations, compasses for all the walkers, and timetables for every train.

    MacDonald : Right, Roger.

    [Blythe enters] 

    Colin : Sorry I'm late, Roger.

    Bartlett : It's all right, Colin. Sit down. We're going to tunnel.

    Colin : Splendid.

    Bartlett : Willie, you and Danny will be tunnel kings. Danny, you'll be in charge of traps, and I'll work out the exact location with you tomorrow.

    Danny : Good.

    Bartlett : Sedgwick, manufacturer. Griffith, I said, tailor. Nimmo and Hayes, diversions. Mac, of course, will take care of intelligence. Hendley? We haven't met. Scrounger?

  • [gathering wood to shore up the tunnels, Hilts removes the wooden slats from bunk beds in the sleeping area of the prisoner barracks, holding a stack of them, and walks carefully out into the hallway] 

    Cavendish : [passes Hilts in the hallway on his way to his bunk bed]  Five gold rings. Four calling birds - bloody singing, I've never worked so hard in all my life. Hi, Hilts!

    Hilts : [turns and tries to warn him]  Say, Cavendish...

    Cavendish : Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear - Alley-oop!

    [Cavendish climbs to the top bunk, and vaults onto the unsupported mattress, which collapses under his weight through the bed frame, as well as the two beneath it. Hilts approaches the doorway and sees Cavendish on the floor] 

    Hilts : Never mind.


  • Goff : [Sedgewick has just descended into the tunnel entrance]  Was that Sedgewick with his steamer trunk?

    Cavendish : Who else?

    Goff : I wish he was back in Australia with his kangaroos.

  • Cavendish : [Hilts has just taken some boards out of all the beds and Denys walks in after singing]  5 golds rings, 4 calling birds, bloody singing, hi Hilts.

    Hilts : Denys, wait...

    Cavendish : 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge, alley-oop!

    [jumps on to bed and falls through all three] 

    Hilts : [sees that Denys has fallen through bed]  Never mind.

See also

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