Help for Heroes Veterans interview with The Great Escaper Director

The Great Escaper review
Glenda Jackson’s final film shows her at her fierce and unsentimental best, says Larushka Ivan-Zadeh

The Great Escaper turned out to be the swansong of Glenda Jackson, who died in June. A ferociously powerful actress, turned politician, turned actress again, she won two Academy Awards, three Emmys and a Tony. The mere fact that she signed up to The Great Escaper aged 86 was probably what coaxed her co-star, 90-year-old Sir Michael Caine, out of retirement.
Written by William Ivory (no relation to James) and assuredly directed by

Oliver Parker, The Great Escaper is based on a true story that captured the public imagination back in 2014. That was the year when 89-year-old Second World War veteran Bernard Jordan (Caine) absconded from his Hove care home, where he was living with his wife Rene (Jackson) and ‘escaped’ to Normandy to witness the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations. By the time Bernard got back he was astonished (and not entirely thrilled) to find himself hailed as a hero in newspapers and TV reports across the world.
A heart-warming, ‘live in the moment’, tear-to-your-eye movie, it is never a schmaltzy one. How could it be with two such fiercely unsentimental leads?
Reunited as on-screen husband and wife 48 years after they co-starred in The Romantic Englishwoman, the chemistry between them is an absolute joy to watch. And though the movie takes interesting turns, it’s the silences between Caine and Jackson that provide its finest notes: their every nuanced reaction a seemingly effortless masterclass. As Sir Michael simply concluded in his personal tribute after Jackson’s death: ‘I shall miss her.’ Won’t we all.
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