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Danger Within (1959)

Danger Within is set in a POW camp in Northern Italy housing British, French and other Allied captives during the summer of 1943.

The British officers concoct a number of ingenious escape plans – including one involving sewers, light switches, misplaced cigarettes and rugby posts – but despite the best efforts of the Escape Committee, headed by Lieutenant-Colonel David Baird MC (Richard Todd), the Italians succeed in foiling them all. The inmates begin to suspect there is an informer in their ranks and the prime suspect is a Greek officer, Lieutenant Coutoules (Cyril Shaps).

When he is found murdered there is no shortage of suspects.

The film is unusual in that the captors are Italian rather than German or Japanese. Italians were generally portrayed in a sympathetic light in war films of this period – as unwilling partners in the Axis who had been dragged into the war – but here they are most definitely the villains, and the camp’s security officer, Captain Benucci (Peter Arne) is a vicious sadist, as brutal as any Nazi. He is nicknamed “Dracula” by the inmates.

The film stars a number of leading British actors of the period, including Richard Attenborough, Michael Wilding, Bernard Lee and Dennis Price. There are uncredited appearances as background prisoners by Michael Caine and John Leyton.

Released in the USA as Breakout.

Lt. Col. David Baird MC
Richard Todd
Lt. Col. Huxley
Bernard Lee
Major Charles Marquand
Michael Wilding
Capt. “Bunter” Phillips
Richard Attenborough
Capt. Rupert Callender
Dennis Price
Capt. Roger Byfold
Donald Houston
Capt. Tony Long
William Franklyn
Capt. Pat Foster
Vincent Ball
Capitano Benucci
Peter Arne
Capt. Alfred Piker
Peter Jones
Lt. Meynell ‘The Sewer Rat’
Ronnie Stevens
Lt. Gibbs
Terence Alexander
Lt. Comdr. “Dopey” Gibbon RN
Andrew Faulds
Lt. Pierre Dessin
Steve Norbert
Lt. Kyriakos Coutoules
Cyril Shaps
Lt. Tim O’Brien
Eric Lander
Lt. Robson
John Dearth
“Doc” Simmonds, RAMC
Robert Bruce
Capt. “Tag” Burchnall
Harold Siddons
2nd. Lt. Betts-Hanger
Ian Whittaker
Lt. Parsons
David Williams
Lt. Moxhay
David Graham
Lt. Bush
Howard Williams
Commandante Arletti
Dino Galvani

Don Chaffey