Cinema Retro subscriber Bill O'Hara, who has a mega collection of rare movie stills sent this fascinating photo in with this notation:
"Just found your Unseen Scenes with the deleted Great Escape item. Here's another
one of Ashley-Pitt (David McCallum) literally drunk under the table. Too bad Mr. McCallum
couldn't have been shown this as a prompt, I'd like to hear if he remembered
filming it. I understand that both McCallum and James Coburn
suffered the most from editing. I remember a magazine picture of Ashley- Pitt
being questioned by the Gestapo agents who dropped off Bartlett at the camp. It
would re-enforce why he would have been recognized in the train station and
jumped the agent."
David McCallum as Ashley-Pitt and Steve McQueen as Hilts get soused while celebrating the 4th of July with homemade moonshine. The scene was ultimately removed from the final release cut of The Great Escape.
Well, Bill, this photo really surprised us as it wasn't among other stills of cut sequences we had come across. So, Cinema Retro worked it's magic and we did send it on to David McCallum, but -alas- David could shed no light on the background of the scene. He wrote, "I've seen the still before but have no recollections of the scene or the moment.
All I remember are the 'Wows' ..." Hmm..We have to remind ourselves to ask him what "the Wows" refers to - the success of the sequence, or was it real moonshine in the jugs?
Thanks for sharing the photo, Bill. If other collectors have rare stills they'd like to discuss, feel free to send them in.
(For major coverage of the making of The Great Escape, see Cinema Retro issue #1. For David McCallum's exclusive interview about the film, see Cinema Retro issue #8)