Stalag 17 would have been a tight little World War II adventure if the writers had show more restraint in using their poor man’s version of Martin and Lewis (Harvey Lembeck and Robert Strauss).
Never having seen the play, I can’t say for certain if they’re hijinks are faithful to the original material, but I’d guess that they are. However, one part of adapting material from another medium to film is removing or changing the things that don’t work on screen. The antics of Shapiro and “Animal” should have been cut or sharply curtailed. Unfortunately, I think producer/director Billy Wilder probably felt some obligation to carry over Strauss and Lembeck from the original Broadway production of the play.
Billy Wilder‘s poison-pen valentine to Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, could easily be made today without much modification. There’s always another generation of former stars clinging to their lost fame and a new generation on the make. Instead of simply pining her years away awash in faded glory, Norma Desmond might be doing info-mercials at two in the morning, but the basic story could be reused today.