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A Midnight Clear


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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Berg, Kevin Dillon, Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinise, Arye Gross
  • Directors: Keith Gordon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Import, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 101 DISTRIBUTION
  • DVD Release Date: March 9, 2010
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0037TPI8K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,081 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

NTSC/Region 0. Director Keith Gordon based his excellent script for "A Midnight Clear" on the book by William Wharton, who had been seriously wounded in the Battle of the Bulge towards the end of WWII. He wrote of an American Intelligence team which came upon a team of young German soldiers, desperate to surrender to the Americans, in order to survive Germany's last offensive. He wrote of fear and suspicion, pain and loss, friendship and hope and a snow-ball fight. And of the agreement to save the lives of the Germans, which went horribly wrong. A haunting, disturbing war movie without much war, looking tenderly at those who go to kill and be killed, and gently painting a truth: There are no real victors; all are wounded by war's inherent, random cruelty. DVD info.: A special slip-case presentation imported from S. Korea, with Dolby 5.1 sound doing justice to Mark Isham's beautiful score, the movie is in the original English, with optional English and Korean subtitles, with the original 107 minutes

Customer Reviews

One of the best movies I have seen.
Debra G. Lewis
As an Army vet, I can say that the characters in this movie are just as crazy and varied as you're likely to find in any military unit.
CrazyGypsy
The Germans want peace, and the Americans want peace.
Laquita A. Angst

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 20, 2004
Format: DVD
As I saw this film and Castle Keep again recently, I thought about Stanley Weintraub's book Silent Night in which he discusses a brief period prior to Christmas in 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, when German and British soldiers spontaneously agreed to declare a truce and suspend fighting, thereby defying their commanding officers. Centuries ago, knights and their attendants would work with their enemies to clear a field for combat the next day. Such cooperation had an obvious practical value. That's not what interests Weintraub as he examines a temporary truce during one of the bloodiest wars ever fought. It had little (if any) practical or tactical value but it did (and does) suggest a human need which transcends military obligations. However, war is war. After a brief respite, the carnage inevitably resumes.

A Midnight Clear was directed by Keith Gordon and is based on William Wharton's autobiographical novel. Rather than featuring a star such as Burt Lancaster (as in Castle Keep), the lead roles in this film are played by those normally seen in supporting roles. For example, Kevin Dillon, Ethan Hawke, and Gary Sinise. They and all others in the cast are first-rate. Basically, here's the situation. An elite U.S. Army intelligence unit is given a reconnaissance mission in the Ardennes Forest in December of 1944, just before the Battle of the Bulge. The men in the platoon may be far from home as Christmas approaches, lonely and miserably cold, but they retain a certain playful spirit comparable with what Robert Altman celebrates in M.A.S.H. They encounter a German unit and then....

While seeing this film the first time and then again recently, I felt as if I were dreaming that I had returned to the 1940s in a time machine, to Belgium near the end of World War Two.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This movie can be used as an example of what cinema is supposed to be. Yes, I have read some of the other reviews with their negative comments about the language and the depiction of American soldiers, but in this film's defense it WAS wartime and I'm certain that there were some soldiers who served bravely but nevertheless did not embrace the luster that the "last good war" was giving off on the homefront. What this film is trying to do is show the smaller, less significant aspects of World War II and the human side of the soldiers, a number of years before Saving Private Ryan.
The plot is a little slow and it takes a while to develop, but this is balanced nicely by some interesting character developments. Sometimes you have to accept what is happening at face value and wait for its meaning to be explained later, but that's a minor point. The cast are not huge names (except for, I guess, Ethan Hawke & Gary Sinise but this was years before either really took off) but the acting is pretty good. Not fantastic, but good enough.
One of the more appealing aspects of this film is that it isn't in-your-face movie-making, but is instead probably the quietest war movie you'll ever see. The word that springs to mind immediately is "competent", which doesn't sound like too much of a praise but it is exactly what makes this movie worth it. On a personal level, I found it fascinating to question actual World War II veterans about events similar to what was in the film. It wasn't until then that I could put my finger on what this movie's overall appeal was, but I think it is because most of us would probably behave similarly were we to be placed in the same circumstances the film depicts.
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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful By D. Brodale on October 29, 2003
Format: DVD
The latest DVD release (Fall 2003) is *still* presented in fullscreen/pan'n'scan format, despite technical information to the contrary on Amazon. Twice released on DVD, twice modified from its original widescreen format. Shameful.
This is especially appalling, given that the packaging utilizes *widescreen* stills from the film alongside its synopsis -- scenes you will never see in such state should you view the enclosed disc.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on September 8, 2005
Format: DVD
A MIDNIGHT CLEAR is nearly my favorite Christmas movie. I was born on Christmas Eve and have had a sentimental attachment to movies laid during Christmas time. Some reviewers have suggested that this movie is not sentimental, but I think automatically once you have two opposing armies laying down arms in the spirit of Christmas, it gets a little gooey. Ethan Hawke, so good in the recent remake of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, again battles the snow in A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, as he and five other US grunts try to make sense out of the quandaries of a slow-moving war right before the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest. His commentary reveals that the movie was actually filmed in the rocky ridges of Utah.

The war's almost over, the invasion a success, admittedly a great, unexpected resistance from German armies means that there's a long winter ahead of them, but as in Wharton's novel when they occupy (and more importantly, to secure) an ancient chateau and start to feel comfortable, an eerie sound floats through the crystalline night air at night-the sound of German laughter. They are not alone. Hawke plays a sergeant really not far removed from boyhood, while the Germans, who soon become their prisoners in name, are a mixture of older man and really young boy, for the prime specimens of "Aryan manhood" were long ago drained off into the draft and likely as not killed in Stalingrad, and now (at any rate this battalion of the German army), you see the dregs and the far-fetched. A children's crusade.

Children all, and their "mother," Wilkins (Gary Sinise, doing some interesting work) strips down to nothing in the snow hoping to get a Section Eight (discharge for madness).
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Widescreen, remastered, remixed region 2 release available for pre-order...
The company releasing it (Second Sight) has released some classics, some have been Region Free some have not. So hopefully this'll be Region Free.

[Update] I contacted Second Sight - it'll be Region B.
Feb 13, 2012 by Stephen Macdonald |  See all 2 posts
A Widescreen version exists Be the first to reply
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