Video Picks Archive

November 22, 2000
This Week's Video Picks
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Reviews by Matt Heffernan <>

This week my picks are Chicken Run (2000 - ) and Stalag 17 (1953 - ).

The first film this week is the first feature created by Aardman, the stop-motion animation studio behind the "Wallace and Gromit" series. Chicken Run tells the story about a chicken egg farm that is going to become a poultry farm. The hens want to escape, but cannot do it alone. The arrival of Rocky the Flying Rooster (voiced by Mel Gibson) gives them hope of learning how to fly away themselves. Four years in the making under the direction of Nick Park (Creature Comforts, "Wallace and Gromit") and Peter Lord (Wat's Pig), this delightful film creates a whimsical environment in which to spoof escape dramas and adventure films. Chicken Run is not only a good family film, but it was also one of the best films from all of last summer .
Full review from June 21, 2000

If you pay close attention, you will notice that most of the action in Chicken Run takes place in pen #17, which is in reference to the second film. Adapted by Billy Wilder from the play by Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski, Stalag 17 stars William Holden as an American soldier in a German POW camp during World War II. His inmates try to escape, but somebody is informing the German guards. His willingness to trade with the Germans to make prison life better for himself puts him under suspicion. Featuring a great cast including Otto Preminger (in a rare acting role), Don Taylor, and Peter Graves, this film is generally regarded as one of the best escape dramas from the post-war era. It successfully combines Wildereque humor with high drama, but it has not aged well, looking quite dated by today's standards. What never grows old, though, is Holden's brilliant Oscar-winning performance.

For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Chicken Run (2000)
Stalag 17 (1953)

Here's some merchandise for sale at
Chicken Run (2000) -- VHS
Chicken Run (2000) -- DVD
Chicken Run: Hatching the Movie, by Brian Sibley -- Hardcover
Chicken Run: Junior Novelization, by Ellen Weiss -- Paperback
Chicken Run: Original Soundtrack -- Compact Disc
Chicken Run -- Game for Sony PlayStation
Stalag 17 (1953) -- VHS
Stalag 17 (1953) -- DVD
Stalag 17, a play by Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski -- Paperback
Stalag 17, a screenplay by Billy Wilder and Edwin Blum -- Paperback Home
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