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ROGER MOORE IN 'ESCAPE TO ATHENA' WITH TELLY SAVALAS

Title: Escape to Athena Year: 1979 Rates: ***1/2

About the only thing ESCAPE TO ATHENA is known for is how miscast the famously British James Bond actor Roger Moore is at playing a WWII Nazi... but Moore's actually a charming German major reluctantly running a Greek Island-set POW camp and can care less about Hitler... 

In fact he's what true Nazi villain Anthony Valentine calls "an antique collector" so, as a German Archeologist flirting with sassy ingenue Stefanie Powers, Moore fits much better than scene-wrecker Elliott Gould, partnered with Powers as a captured USO team... and the goofy, flamboyant Gould seems lost in the wrong movie...

One that's tonally-challenged either way, showing a public execution one minute and silly pratfalls the next: Yet ESCAPE is beautifully directed by George P. Cosmatos, using creative camera shots to cover what feels like every inch of the sea-cliff Greek village of antique buildings and glorious ruins, where the other characters fare better like Sonny Bono as an endearing Italian chef, David Niven as an experienced old Brit and Richard Roundtree as a token black con man, eventually joining Greek cutthroat Telly Savalas and heart-of-gold-hooker Claudia Cardinale. So despite the maligned reputation, ATHENA has loads of neat action, explosions, gun fights, twists, turns, and only the overlong race-against-time climb to a treasure-laden mountain slows down this adventurous/ambitious Lew Grade produced b-picture... that ultimately tries too hard for epic mainstream status. A far better action than heist flick.

Sonny Bono in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
If only Elliott Gould was this cool in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Greek location from ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Greek location from ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Claudia Cardinale in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Anthony Valentine in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Roger Moore in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
William Holden cameo (Stalag 17 reference) in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Sonny Bono and Richard Roundtree in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Claudia Cardinale in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Roger Moore and Stefanie Powers in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Telly Savalas in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Stalag 17 homage number two from ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Roger Moore in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
Roger Moore ESCAPE TO ATHENA with Sonny Bono, David Niven & Richard Roundtree
Roger Moore in ESCAPE TO ATHENA with Stefanie Powers
Roger Moore in ESCAPE TO ATHENA with Elliott Gould & Stefanie Powers
Telly Savalas in ESCAPE TO ATHENA
ESCAPE TO ATHENA with Elliott Gould & Stefanie Powers
ESCAPE TO ATHENA with Anthony Heald & Richard Roundtree
ESCAPE TO ATHENA with Stefanie Powers

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