Watch Craig Ferguson and Quentin Tarantino dish on iconic war epic ‘The Great Escape’

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See the complete, unscripted interview between controversial “Kill Bill” director Quentin Tarantino and former Peabody-winning “Late Late Show” host Craig Ferguson exploring Steve McQueen’s archetypal films “The Great Escape” and “Papillon.” In the accompanying still, moonlighting as a stunt man, McQueen sports a World War II-era German uniform and helmet as he prepares to “chase himself” on a Triumph motorcycle in “The Great Escape.” Filmed on location in rural Bavaria by director John Sturges, the nearly three-hour epic drama made the “Cooler King” a bankable star upon its July 4, 1963, distribution. Photography by Lothar Winkler / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

In the waning days of Craig Ferguson’s brilliant 10-year late night deconstruction project, CBS’s The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, the mischievous Scottish comedian welcomed über passionate Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino, whose vast knowledge of classic cinema is borderline savant territory, for his fifth and final visit.

Tearing up the traditional blue index cards with suggested interview topics devised by a segment producer and publicist — a rebellious gesture that current late night hosts like Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon seem incapable of implementing for fear of losing A-list guests — Ferguson uttered a surprising revelation. He considers iconic war epic The Great Escape [1963], directed by John Sturges and starring Steve McQueen, to be his favorite film. As the proprietor of the New Beverly Cinema historic revival house, Tarantino was then screening a 35mm print of Papillon [1973] from McQueen’s personal archive containing 20 previously unseen minutes.

Without breaking a sweat the controversial Kill Bill mastermind grabbed the ball from Ferguson and excitedly recalled his childhood tradition of catching NBC’s annual two-part screening of the nearly three-hour World War II drama which also made bankable stars of James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Richard Attenborough, and James Garner.

Watch the complete, freewheeling 12-minute conversation below emphasizing the duo’s admiration for the undisputed King of Cool, who received an Oscar nomination for The Sand Pebbles and a Golden Globe nod for Papillon but never took home either trophy.

© Jeremy Roberts, 2014, 2018. All rights reserved. To touch base, email jeremylr@windstream.net and mention which story led you my way. I appreciate it sincerely.

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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