I'd been meaning to see Stalag 17 for years. In my teens I'd inherited a behemoth laser disc player and a pile of discs that outlined my grandmother and grandfather's cinematic tastes. His pile was mostly war films; he'd been in Europe during the second World War, and had escape two camps himself, while his father spent the war in an Oflag. Due to my family's history, Stalag 17 was always my first choice disc to play. But the player was wonky and wouldn't play the sound properly, and I'd never gotten around to picking up a different copy of the film, until a fellow Twitter follower re-inspired my push to see it.
At first, I was nervous. Billy Wilder's comedy had been built up for years, references to it popping up everywhere -- even on Gilmore Girls. Could it live up to my ever-increasing expectations? Either way, the time had come. I slipped the disc in, pressed play, and at first, it looked like my worst fears were realized. While I was appreciating it, I didn't love it. But then the two-hour film started growing on me and I realized that the magic of Stalag 17 was the journey.