That's what this superb 1957 film is about - a prison escape. It is told with the sparest possible cinematic technique - all but the story and relevant "action" are excised. What we see are not crowd scenes, camaraderie, or extraneous flag-waving. Instead we follow a young lieutenant as he methodically plans and executes a difficult escape. Peering over his shoulder, we watch him patiently scrape away the wood of his door. Standing next to him, we see a furtive glance from a comrade. Facing him through the bars of his window, we hear what he hears -- passing trains and distant playing children -- and the shots of other prisoners being executed.
The other prisoners are a mixed bag - some are supportive, some are not. But talking is forbidden by the German guards so what communication there is among prisoners takes place secretly or in small bursts.
The tension is palpable as the movie progresses, unaided by constant music. In fact what music we hear is occasional Mozart, which underscores the near-contemplative nature of the evil circumstances in which these prisoners find themselves.
Unfortunately, while the quality of the image of this black and white movie on DVD is high, there are no significant extra features other than a trailer and previews of other Bresson films. I would have hoped for other information about this film and the director, but there are other sources available.