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El Alamein

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Editorial Reviews

Winner of three Italian Academy Awards, Enzo Monteleone’s incredibly powerful film recounts one of the epic battles of WWII, in which the Italian army, fighting alongside the Germans, sought to drive the Allied forces from North Africa. Dealing with enemy ground and air attacks on one hand, extreme daytime heat and nighttime cold on the other, and their commanders’ muddled inability to command, the troops were basically abandoned and forced to make do as best as they could. Focusing on the intimate, emotional lives of these soldiers, El Alamein forcefully conveys the message that war—from any time and in any place—is truly hell.

Special Features

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  • Original TV spots

Product Details

  • Actors: Paolo Briguglia, Pierfrancesco Favino, Luciano Scarpa, Emilio Solfrizzi, Thomas Trabacchi
  • Directors: Enzo Monteleone
  • Writers: Enzo Monteleone
  • Producers: Giovanni Stabilini, Marco Chimenz, Pino Butti, Riccardo Tozzi
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: August 16, 2005
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B0009Y2618
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,267 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "El Alamein" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on December 23, 2005
Format: DVD
El Alamein: Line of Fire is an Italian war film that depicts the Italian point of view in the pivotal Battle of El Alamein in the fall of 1942. The time period covered is early October to about 8 November 1942. Overall, this film was better than I expected but it has a rather mixed quality to it. The non-combat scenes that portray the grimy quality of life in the front-line trenches are excellent and the character development is very good, but the combat scenes are sub-par.

El Alamein follows the standard war film conceit: the small unit drama. In this case, the unit is a company-size detachment in the 27th Infantry Regiment, 17th "Pavia" Division, stationed at the extreme south of the Axis line next to the Qattara Depression. The main characters are Lieutenant Fiori, Sergeant Rizzo and the new-comer, Private Serta. The first half of the film involves the tedium and suffering of static warfare in the desert, particularly with the emphasis on poor supplies of water and food. There are several minor episodes in this phase of the film which are used to "flesh out" the main characters, with the most interesting being Sergeant Rizzo and Serta going into the Qattara Depression to look for a lost Bersaglieri patrol. Uniforms, small arms and kit used in the film are authentic, but not quite as comprehensive as what was used in the better "Captain Corelli's Mandolin." The director also makes great effort to depict the utter lack of concern of Mussolini and the Italian generals for their troops at the frontline, including sending exhortations to "fight or die" instead of sending potable water. On the other hand, I was glad that the director chose to omit any type of conflict or tension within the unit, which so often is used to unrealistically depict life in combat units.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Virgil on May 17, 2006
Format: DVD
El Alamein tells the story of the battle from the point of view of the Italian side, especially from that of a young Italian lieutenant volunteering for combat and the infantry company he's assigned to with the Pavia Infantry division. The film is a bleak look at how the Italian troops were left to fend for themselves by their own commanders and with little resources at their disposal. The battle scenes are decent, not as good as they could be in the sense they probably didn't have the technical resources or budget an American film would've had, but good enough to give a sense of combat.

Things are pretty tough on the line, water is in short supply, soldiers have to loot the packs of dead Brits (technically I think Anzacs may have been opposite them) in order to get things like canned fruit, investigate the loss of communication with a Bersagliari scout position and the constant artillery barrages which decimates much of the company's fighting strength.

It comes to a head in a final series of defensive battles prior to which much of the more mobile German army retreats leaving the foot infantry like the Pavia and adjacent Folgore Airborne Division on their own. Outnumbered and out gunned the company commander finally tries to lead the remnants of his unit back to the Axis rear through the North African desert.

While the truth is that German interspersed their units among the Italian units like the Pavia and Folgore, they also retreated leaving most of the line infantry who without transportation to fend for themselves. This included sacrificing the Italian Ariete Armored division to provide a screen for Rommel's retreat. Although the southern attacks were considered feints, they weren't by any means light attacks.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Temm on March 13, 2009
Format: DVD
Like many of the other reviewers, I picked this out by accident. As an amateur historian and retired soldier, I've always been interested in the more obscure services that fought in wars like WW2. Despite the important role Italy played in WW2, they are at best sidelined in movies and most accounts of the war.

So I checked this out and never regretted it from start to finish. Italians get an almost uniform poor review (much of it undeserved) for their performance in the War. Because of that, the Italian role is always denigrated and therefore ignored.

But El Alamein, filmed from the viewpoint of an Italian infantry company in the deserts of Libya, centers on the forgotten men of the Italian army. It was the Italians who made up the bulk of Rommel's infantry and support troops. And this movie reminds the viewer that those soldiers had the same mix of reasons for being at the front as even the better armies like the Germans and as much pride as any of the others also. Filmed in Morocco, one could easily get into the heads of the men in their dusty trenches waiting in stalemate across from their British enemies. Poorly supplied and under equipped for a war of movement, the Italians were bitterly resigned to being underdogs in a war that none pretended to understand.

The movie centers on one platoon of the Pavia Division and develops the traditional characters out pretty well. The new volunteer replacement, professional sergeant, assorted corporals and other privates, wise company commander-in this case an older lieutenant, all come to life in this film. Short rations, poor water, and miserable conditions all get the attention due.
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