ESCAPE

Produced and Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: November 1, 1940

Featured cast: Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Conrad Veidt

Producers: Mervyn LeRoy, Lawrence Weingarten 
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Screenwriters: Marguerite Roberts, Arch Oboler
Source: the novel by Grace Zaring Stone, writing as Ethel Vance
Cinematographer: Robert Planck

THEME

The American widow of a German count refuses to help a young American rescue his mother from the Nazis.

PRODUCTION QUOTE

"Metro will co-star Norma Shearer and Robert Taylor in Escape, a Nazi concentration camp story, from the novel by Ethel Vance. Mervyn LeRoy will direct. Shooting starts April 22.”
- West Coast Bureau, “Shearer, Taylor to Co-Star,” Film Daily, April 11, 1940

REVIEWS

“Just as the Ethel Vance novel Escape had the book-reading public by the ears this time last year, there is every reason to suspect the excellent screen version thereof, which Mervyn LeRoy has prepared for Metro and which opened here yesterday at the Music Hall, will have the moviegoers of the land by the nape of the neck as it gets around. For this is far and away the most dramatic and hair-raising picture yet made on the sinister subject of persecution in a to­talitarian land, and the suspense which it manages to compress in its moments of greatest intensity would seem enough to blow sizable holes in the screen.”
- Bosley Crowther, The New York Times, November 1, 1940

“Norma Shearer, as the Countess, makes up for a static performance by coming to life in the last scene and giving a fine dramatic fillip to the fade-out. Nazimova is splendid throughout, although there is less dramatic stress laid on Emmy's than on Mark's part in the drama. Elsa Basserman, Blanche Yurka, and Bonita Granville are fine, too, in the parts they are called upon to play.”
- Kate Cameron, New York Daily News, November 1, 1940

“Outspoken, aggressive little director Mervyn LeRoy lost none of the story in transposing it to the screen. Even the saccharine qualities of Norma Shearer are skillfully tempered to fit the regenerated Countess. Only Robert Taylor, unfairly injected into big league competition, falls behind the pace. But director LeRoy's combination is too strong to be defeated by this single handicap.”
- Time magazine, November 18, 1940

LETTERS FROM REGIONAL THEATER OWNERS

“I think this is a fine picture. It got the better class of people out, but the farmers didn’t give it good comments. Acting fine. Business just fair.”
- J.C. Hartley, Arcade Theatre, Arcade, New York, Motion Picture Herald, January 11, 1941

“This proved to be a much better drawing picture than I had anticipated. Picture gave general satisfaction and was well worth playing.”
- Harold Smith, Dreamland Theatre, Carson, Iowa, Motion Picture Herald, February 15, 1941

“Surely a high class show if there ever was one. Box office return was only fair. I guess too many of our young bloods have gone to army and defense manufacturing centers.”
- Lawrence E. Speaker, Star Theatre, Stayton, Oregon, Motion Picture Herald, February 15, 1941

FIGURES

Escape cost $1,205,000 and grossed $2,364,000. It was Norma Shearer's last hit film.
(These figures have not been adjusted for inflation nor do they include profits from reissues, television syndication, and home entertainment formats.)

Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Portraits