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Tunes of Glory (The Criterion Collection) (1960)

Alec Guinness , John Mills , Ronald Neame  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alec Guinness, John Mills, Susannah York, Dennis Price, Kay Walsh
  • Directors: Ronald Neame
  • Writers: James Kennaway
  • Producers: Albert Fennell, Colin Lesslie
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00014K5YG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,090 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tunes of Glory (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New transfer with restored image and sound
  • New video interview with director Ronald Neame
  • Exclusive new audio interview with actor Sir John Mills
  • BBC interview with Sir Alec Guinness
  • New essay by acclaimed film critic and historian Robert Murphy

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In Ronald Neame's Tunes of Glory, the incomparable Alec Guinness inhabits the role of Jock Sinclair-a whiskey drinking, up-by-the-bootstraps commanding officer of a peacetime Scottish battalion. When Basil Barrow (John Mills)-an educated, by-the-book scion of a traditionally military family-enters the scene as Sinclair's replacement, the two men become locked in a fierce battle for control of the battalion and the hearts and minds of its men. Based on the novel by James Kennaway and featuring flawless performances by Guinness and Mills, Tunes of Glory uses the rigidly stratified hierarchy of military life as a jumping off point to examine the institutional contradictions and class divisions of English society, resulting in an unexpectedly moving drama. The DVD features new interviews with Ronald Neame and John Mills, the theatrical trailer, and more.

Venerable British actors Alec Guinness and John Mills give two of their finest performances in Tunes of Glory, a compelling, emotionally charged study of leadership in a peacetime Scottish battalion. In one of his most memorable roles, Guinness plays Jock Sinclair, the brash, red-haired colonel who temporarily commands his regiment of loyal, devoted soldiers. He's quick with a drink and hearty tales of military bravado, placing him in fun-loving contrast to his replacement, Col. Barrow (Mills), a hot-tempered martinet whose by-the-book style couldn't be more different, or less likable, than Sinclair's. In adapting his own novel for director Ronald Neame, James Kennaway keenly establishes the psychological opposition of these two stubborn men, demonstrating the equal merit of their military careers while exploring class distinctions and, ultimately, the inevitable tragedy of their failure to reach a mutual understanding. Ironically, Guinness was originally offered Mills's role, but suggested a switch to avoid comparison to his role in The Bridge on the River Kwai. It was an inspired decision, allowing each actor to shine in a timeless film that speaks volumes about military men and the winning (or losing) of hearts and minds. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alec Guinness In One Of His Best Roles July 27, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
A clash of wills and personalities between two men, one a psychologically scarred idealist, the other driven by ego and his own needs to the point of cruelty, is examined in the peacetime military drama, “Tunes of Glory,” directed by Ronald Neame and starring Alec Guinness and John Mills. Major Jock Sinclair (Guinness) is the acting Colonel of a Scottish regiment, but as the story begins he has been notified that he has been passed over for promotion and his replacement, Lieutenant Colonel Basil Barrow (Mills) is en route to take command. Sinclair is a soldier’s soldier, a man’s man loved and respected (with some qualifications) by his men. He has clawed his way up through the ranks, was once a piper (he would’ve been happy as a Pipe Major, in fact, but Hitler-- as he says at one point-- “Changed all that”), and feels strongly that he should have been made Colonel of the regiment. Barrow, on the other hand, is an aristocrat and a third generation officer of this particular regiment. He suffers, however, from his experience in a prisoner-of-war camp, and has never fully recovered, the impact of which is succinctly expressed when he tells his Captain that he never really came back. From the beginning, it’s an almost impossible situation, and from the moment Barrows arrives the atmosphere is thick with tension as he and Sinclair square off in a contest from which it is readily evident that neither will emerge unscathed in one way or another . Read more ›
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intense look at the psychological aftermath of war. September 8, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a great movie. The time: immediately following the Second World War. The place: Scotland, specifically the Scotts Highland Regiment. The Regiment has returned from hard combat in North Africa and Europe, and once again is esconced in its barracks in the Scottish Highlands--the place in which it has been headquartered for over three hundred years. The Acting Commanding Officer is Col. Jock Sinclair (Alec Guiness), a rough, uneducated man from the lower classes who worked his way up to Colonel from the ranks. Sinclair got his promotion in the desert, fighting Rommel, and one senses that these experiences have created strong bonds of friendship between Sinclair and certain other officers in the battalion. Now higher headquarters has assigned a new Commanding Officer to the battalion--Col. Basil Barrow, a university-educated man from the upper classes who comes from a long line of officers who served with, and indeed commanded, the battalion. But Barrow, for all that, is viewed as an outsider and newcomer--while the other officers forged friendships in the war, fighting the Germans, Barrow was in the Pacific theater. Sinclair is relegated to second-in-command. Sinclair is deeply resentful of Barrow, and immediately gets off on the wrong foot with his new commander, unintentionally belittling Barrow's war service, most of which involved the horrors of being a POW tortured by the Japanese. In fact, Colonel Barrow is deeply scarred by his wartime experience, and has lost perspective in dealing with his officers. He is a martinet, and appears to forget that leadership involves earning the respect of one's subordinates--it is not simply bestowed from on-high. Although both men love the Regiment above all else, this film is about an implacable conflict between Sinclair and Barrow. Read more ›
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Tunes of Glory" is everything you might want from this type of movie. Full of rough-hewn Scots drinking life with the same enthusiasm as they drink their whisky, "Tunes of Glory" plays wistfully with the Scottish stereotypes of good natured, dancing and singing soldiers of a highland regiment. There are tunes a'plenty, and twirling kilts and bagpipes as well. A story of post-war peacetime soldiers, one cannot call it a war movie or but it is military in flavor,with pipes and drum corp assembled.

In addition to the Scottish pageantry is a surprisingly deep storyline and some of Sir Alec Guinness's and Sir John Mills's best acting, which is saying a lot about those two giants of film. Both play against type, with Guinness's surprising turn as red-haired Jock Sinclair, the course and gutter-born Major who seeks to be Battalion Commander, and Mill's emotionally unstable yet straight-laced Battalion Commander Basil Barrow, the very opposite of the spirited garrison who struggles to keep control. Both characters are likeable, yet deeply flawed, and it is a question as to which will overcome their defects and rise.

The looseness and fun-loving background of the regiment is a fine background for the tense struggle of Sinclair and Barrow. Supporting characters, such as the slippery Charlie Scott, and Sinclair's daughter Morag and her beau the handsome piper Ian Fraser, provide counter balance and some much-needed affection in this heroless film.

The Criterion Collection DVD is of course excellent, with a few insightful interviews with Sir Alec Guinness, Sir John Mills and director Ronald Neame. There is also a nice essay by Robert Murphy, which adds to the appreciation of the film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a classic and nice to see in a clear and clean version.
Published 12 days ago by rickk
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
this is a very good scottish type film.
Published 1 month ago by louis quigley
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to John Mills standards
I saw an interview with Haley Mills talking about her father
John Mills in this movie so I was curious and wanted to
check it out. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rodney B. Jennings
5.0 out of 5 stars Alec Guinness in His Best Performance
Guinness is said to have considered his portrayal of Lt. Col. Jock Sinclair to have been the best performance of his career, and it would be hard not to agree. Read more
Published 6 months ago by ken reiss
5.0 out of 5 stars Barrow Gets Jock'd.
Viewed: 2/14
Rate: 9

2/14: Tunes of Glory is a complicated British picture about the battle of personalities between two leaders in the Scottish Highland Regiment. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. Math Expert
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great visual and sound quality (restored version). Fantastic story. Sir Alec Guinness was great as usual. The rest of the cast was made up of great familiar English actors.
Published 11 months ago by Patrick Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Joc Sinclair... what a classic gem this is. Alec Guiness, Edinburgh Castle, Highland Laddie and a great old story. What more could you ask for?
Published 14 months ago by Piper
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you been in the military?
If you've never been in the military, this is an uninteresting film. If you HAVE been in, you'll be covering your face, recognizing all the people you served with. Read more
Published 16 months ago by I Got Popcorn
3.0 out of 5 stars No wonder the Germans almost won.
The ending just does not fit-- Why is Major Jock crying? Did he not know all the time what he was doing?

And what is all that dancing? Read more
Published 17 months ago by V. R. Padgett
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film - too bad Criterion didn't use a better print
This great film has powerful performances in it. The Criterion version has, at a crucial moment, a wiggly green line that appears and continues its distracting movements for quite... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Emperor Ming
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