Two Half-Times in Hell (1961)

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Feature Film | Comedy-Drama | Hungary | Hungarian & German | 2h20m | Dir: Fábri Zoltán | Scr: Bacsó Péter & Fábri Zoltán | Ph: Szécsényi Ferenc | Mus: Farkas Ferenc | Ed: Szécsényi Ferencné | Snd: Pintér György | Cast: Sinkovits Imre, Garas Dezső, Márkus László, Suka Sándor, Gera Zoltán, Molnár Tibor, Koltai János, Velenczey István, Misoga László, Rajz János, Makláry János, Szendrő József

To celebrate Hitler’s birthday, the commander of a Hungarian labour camp decides to arrange a football match between his inmates and a team of visiting German soldiers, and enlists the talents of a celebrated former footballer to help make it happen, whose only request being that he and his teammates be properly fed and excused from work. However, the minds of the eleven men – comprising of Communists, criminals, and Jews – soon turn to thoughts of escape, in Fábri’s unevenly diverting wartime comedy-drama. Strange tonal changes, unlikely plot developments, and a general overlength detract somewhat from the entertainment, but charismatic performances and several laugh-out-loud moments make this film, which was remade by John Huston as Escape to Victory (1981), more than worth a watch.