Cameo Appearance: The Great Escape

the great escapeGlasgow isn’t mentioned by name in 1963 World War II classic The Great Escape, however two of its most famous thoroughfares are.

Among the prisoners at the German camp in the movie are two Scots – Macdonald ‘Intelligence’ and Ives ‘The Mole’, played by two real-life Glaswegians Gordon Jackson and Angus Lennie respectively. The two actually share little screen time together, however there is one scene – as Steve McQueen and James Garner distribute moonshine to celebrate American Independence Day – in which the two Scotsmen merrily celebrate their roots.

Macdonald tells a troubled looking Ives “Och, never mind – you’ll be walking down Argyle Street in a couple of weeks man” (sadly this prediction is shattered just minutes later), and then the two dance a jig singing “Wha’ saw the tattie howkers” – including the lyrics “Marching through the Broomielaw”.

Incidentally the film features a third Glaswegian (although not playing a Scottish part) in David McCallum. And two other towns – Musselburgh and Hamilton – get a name check when Ives is recounting his horse racing days to McQueen’s Hilts during the pair’s time in “the cooler”.

Movie Glaswegians: Gordon Jackson

As well as looking at well known visitors to Glasgow, Glasgow on Film is also setting out to list the city’s most famous acting exports – and there is no shortage of those either.

This series begins with an actor perhaps best known for a particular television role – that of CI5 head George Cowley in The Professionals – but whose film CV is impressive too – Gordon Jackson.

Jackson was born in Glasgow on 19th December 1923, sadly passing away as a result of bone cancer in 1990. Online profiles of the actor, such as those on Wikipedia and IMDb, mention that he attended Glasgow’s Hillhead Primary School and that in adult life he worked in repertory theatre in the city.

His big screen credits include The Great Escape (which includes reference to Glasgow – watch out for a future Cameo Appearance posting on this), The Ipcress File and The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie.