The 2013 'tour'....

1. Sunday, 4th August 2013: Arrived in Markt Schwaben and met the delightful Nicole Schley for coffee at the Oberbrau with Steve Gay (left) from America and Christian Becher (right) from Munich....

 

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2. Confirmed -

a) the scene where the train travels through a landscape with a wheat field in the foreground....

b) the 'jump off the train' scene....

Looking back as the train departs across a bridge with the Hay Bales scattered in the field....

The "2" marker is now represented by a tall pole with "23.2" displayed on a yellow background....and the 'jump off' field nearby.

c) and finally the Hay Bale scene was confirmed because this gentleman explained that he watched the filming when he was 11 years old from his house - Haus 1 in Markt Schwaben.

The grassland is where the Hay Bales were situated but now there is 50 years of vegetation obscuring the view....these line of trees are evident in the black and white photograph of John Sturges chatting off camera to James Garner and Donald Pleasence with a cup of coffee in his hand....as seen on the Hay Bale Theory page.

The Evangelical church distinctive designed roof can be seen through the trees...

The church details are obscured through distance so the clock faces don't appear on this image....

3. Nicole, her husband and I had a delightful BBQ in Nicole's garden and that evening slept in the beautiful hamlet of Ottenhofen in the district of Erding in Upper Bavaria.
 

4. On the 5th August 2013 Christian and I met up with Marc Haug who explained how the Bavaria Studios were going to link up with the exhibition at the Town Hall in Fussen on the 2nd October 2013. Next we made our way to the 'camp' location to the north of the Bavaria Studios. The starting point was the cross roads which appears on a black and white photograph  which is on the 'Bavaria Studios' page.

 

The hut appears on the black and white photograph in the top left hand corner and acts as a marker to pace out the 'width' of the camp where the road appears to the north of the original camp in the film. Somewhere along this road is where the 'cooler' was located....

Christian contemplating the  moment !!

Looking through the forest guessing where all The Great Escape actors were....

5. That afternoon drove down to Fussen to meet up with American Steve at the Hotel Guglhupf, Horn and onto a meal with Kevin Payne and a 'Pressure Group' hoping to save the Fussen Railway Station from being demolished, a superb model was displayed for all to see....

6. On Tuesday, 6th August 2013 searched for the locations in Old Fussen as Steve had returned to America last year early and missed this part of the adventure....found the Town Hall in Old Fussen and discussed with the staff what would be involved in The Great Escape exhibition from the 2nd October 2013 onwards....

 

 Scene  where David McCallum was shot at Fussen railway station....

The part of the station where Richard Attenborough and Gordon Jackson queue up in order to show their 'papers'....local journalist, Werner Hacker, re-enacts the scene.

7. Nearby is the Hotel Hirsch, Fussen where David McCallum stayed during the filming in Fussen.

The table where Charles Bronson and Steve McQueen use to play poker with hundreds of dollars up for grabs....McQueen also use to enjoy the company of the resident waitresses !!

 

The room is still in the style it was some 50 years ago....

8. On Wednesday, 7th August 2013, Mac arrived for breakfast and Christian  drove down from Munich on his motor bike and met everyone in Hohenschwangau where the two beautiful castles are situated alongside the hotels where the actors, crew and technicians lived during the filming of The Great Escape film....

Schlossblick - Hotel garni is where the crew stayed....

Hotel Lisl up on the left & Hotel Muller to the right....and a weary Mac bottom left.

Hotel Muller is where the technical team lived....

The Lisl has a Reception whilst the Jagerhaus has just the rooms....

Long corridors in the Hotel Lisl from Room 10 to Room 14 on the right where Walter Riml stayed during the filming in Fussen around 14th September, 1962....

Robert Relyea, Daniel Fapp and Jack Reddish stayed at the Hotel Jagerhaus....

9. Christian wanted to be McQueen for a moment before returning to Munich....

10. At 4.00pm there was a meeting at Fussen Railway Station with the local newspaper to discuss the demolition of the station in September, 2013. But instead the story line was linked to a group of fans searching for The Great Escape locations around Fussen !!

"with kind permission of the Allgäuer Zeitung"

Allgaeu Newspaper August 10, 2013 Film Fans Bring a Classic Back to Life

The Great Escape flying visit to the film locations

Fuessen:  His homepage for the cult film “The Great Escape” has “had 17000 visits and every week it increases”, Don J. Whistance proudly claims.  The film fan from England was not in Fuessen by coincidence.  Once again he was visiting the original locations here in the “Kings Corner” in which the filming of this classic took place in 1963 – For example at the Fuessen Rail Station

Here an international group of film fans set up shop.  In the group were the Scotsman Kevin Payne, American Stephen Gay, Munich’s Christian Becher as well as Fuessen film fans Christine Ranke and Thomas Hugenschmidt to have a few days fun following the tracks of the film.  “There are fans who know the scenes very exactly and want to know how the locations where filming took place look today”, noted Gay. And some scenes are actually re-created, albeit with quite a few winks of the eye. Gay bought his first movie ticket for “the Great Escape” in a small town movie theatre in the US.

Christian Becker from Munich only knew the route from television.  Still, he is a fan of the “real Hollywood film which was filmed on our doorstep”.  That’s “absolutely unique”.  “We were all brought together by this terrific film”, as Kevin Payne summarized.

About the Film:

-         “The Great Escape” is about a mass break out from a German POW camp during World War II.  The story is based on fact.  Basis for the film was the book “The Great Escape” by Paul Brickhill.

-         More than a dozen world famous actors took part. Among them Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasance and James Coburn.

-         All the interior scenes were filmed at the Bavaria Film Studios near Munich. The POW camp was erected in the adjacent Perlacher Forest.  The latter part of the film, the escape, was filmed in and around Fuessen with the participation of a number of locals.

(Caption for Photo) – Recreated scene from the film “the Great Escape”: Shots ring out at the Fuessen Railway station.  Film fans (from left) Thomas Hugenschmidt, Don Whistance, Stephen Gay, Christian Ranke, Kevin Payne and Christian Becher remember.

 

11. The evening was spent at Kevin's Thai Restaurant in Pfronten with Mac, Hans and Jacob and their adoring partners....

12. Thursday, 8th August 2013 searched for the scene where James Coburn walks across the mountains and into 'Spain'....as you drive along the road towards the castles in Hohenschwangau there is a car park on the right. Park up and there will be a 'clearing' nearby. This is the Schwangau Park....the mountain in the centre is covered by the morning mist.

James Coburn walks towards freedom....

Meeting point where the Resistance makes contact with James Coburn....

13. The trip wire scene in Hopfen Am See has a white building in the distance. This building still stands as number "15" today but is now 'hidden' by other modern day buildings....

The 'new' road sweeps down into Hopfen Am See but hidden behind the trees is the 'old' road....

14. Had lunch in one of the restaurants bordering Hopfen Am See and arrived at 2.45pm, some 45 minutes late, at Joachim's Hotel Alpina, Hopfen Am See and sat in the corner of the garden where McQueen and James Coburn sat some 50 years ago....nothing has changed !!

 

After viewing Steve McQueen's room, Joachim bids us farewell....

....click on the photograph to book a room (more details on the Hopfen Am See page)

 

Finally, popped along to the 'jump' scene and met up with Josef for a cup of coffee....he stated that Chad McQueen had visited the 'jump' scene four weeks ago !!

 

Found several locations such as where McQueen and friends were have lunch just down from the 'jump' scene and a road near Zell where filming took place involving a tank....

 

Home time meant the following day was a journey back to Munich Airport....

15. Travelled up to Munich via Miesbach to see if the 'opening scene' could be discovered. The fields were full of corn and were similar to the 'opening' scene (bottom right hand corner)

Met Maximilian working in a Miesbach bank and his informative email stated:

Dear Mr. Whistance,                                                                                                             

you visited us at our branch in Miesbach last week, we talked about the scenery of the plane crash from the movie “the great escape”. After our meeting we talked to an old farmer, near Irschenberg, he told us that he visited the filmset in 1963 as a child. So we detected the place: It’s the village Frauenried, you can locate it over google-maps, postal code 83737 Irschenberg.

We also might have found the place from the convoy-scene: It must be located somewhere around Unterdarching, postal code 83626 Valley, the church of Unterdarching looks quite similar to the one in the movie, and also the landscape would fit.

We think, that the scene must been shot from somewhere near the highway A8, in the 60’s it was just a double track road.

Hopefully we could support your search.

Best regards

16. Flight from Munich at 21.55 and a journey back to home with my daughter, Chiara, meant another 'tour' was over. Arrived in Weymouth at 3.00am. Returned to London on Sunday and had a lovely meal at www.mcqueen-shoreditch.co.uk   and stayed in London until Thursday morning when another piece of the jig saw was put together....a meeting with Tom Adams.
17. On Thursday, 15th August 2013 met up with Tom Adams at the BROWNS pub in Windsor & Eton on a mild day which turned overcast and a downpour led us inside the busy pub. It was well known that Tom lived in Holyport for a while and it was the publican of The George on the Green  that instigated 'The Great Escape' lunch with the entertaining actor who highlighted several interesting anecdotes into the characters of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburg and Richard Attenborough. Tom was really interested in attending the next 'tour' in August 2014....

 

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