British War Collection (The Cruel Sea/The Ship That Died of Shame/Went the Day Well?/The Dam Busters/The Colditz Story)
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All five films are a crisp black and white, full-screen, mono sound, but--apart from a nice booklet--the DVDs have no extras. As of this writing, Richard (now Lord)Attenborough, Sir Donald Sinden and Richard Todd are still "with us", so their comments would have been fascinating. Some extras--comments on these films and the British war film genre in general--would have been a "nice touch", to say the least.
"The Cruel Sea"--quite simply one of the finest and most realistic films about naval warfare ever made. As the captain of a corvette assigned to protect supply convoys from German U-boats, Jack Hawkins gives one of his best performances--you will not forget the scene where he must decide the fate of some stranded sailors--this is real war, where good people must make heart-breaking decisions. Mr. Hawkins receives fine support from Donald Sinden and Denholm Elliott. A real classic.
"The Dam Busters"--that superb actor, Michael Redgrave, stars as British scientist/engineer/inventor Barnes Wallis, who fought an uphill battle with the British military (and far too much "red tape")with his innovative plan to destroy dams in Germany's Ruhr Valley, and cripple Hitler's industry. After various setbacks, he proves that his "bouncing" bomb does indeed work.Read more ›
The little English village of Bromley End welcomes a large number of Royal Engineers who are to work on a secret project. However, the Royal Engineers in reality are English-speaking German soldiers in British uniforms, parachuted into England to set up a counter radar apparatus which will disrupt England's radar network. Gradually the villagers begin to suspect things aren't right, and then realize what they're dealing with. The Germans cordon off the village, show their true colors and prepare to set up their equipment. The villagers need to break through the cordon to alert authorities and get help. They also decide they must take action themselves to stop the Germans. This is complicated because the village houses a traitor. The climax is the Battle of Bromley End, with British Home Guard troops arriving while the Germans, attacking the manor house where they must set up their stuff, are held off by the men and women of the village.
If you're fond of older British movies you'll recognize some fine actors: Leslie Banks, David Farrar, Thora Hird, Basil Sydney, Mervyn Johns. The film is a well-constructed piece of stirring, patriotic wartime propaganda. The DVD I've seen has a good transfer, especially considering the age of the film.
The Colditz Story (1955) was one of a number of movies the British made during the Fifties which relived the victories and bravery of their armed services during WWII. Often these movies starred John Mills. The Colditz Story is based on fact.Read more ›
The transfers are excellent. They're clean and crisp, much like the discs in Anchor Bay's earlier Alec Guinness Collection (also recommended). There are occasional scratches and scenes with heavy grain, but nothing distracting. Even Went the Day Well?, the oldest in the set (1942), looks beautiful. I hope Anchor Bay maintains a good relationship with Studio Canal, the company that owns the rights to these and other superb British films, because they make a good team. Studio Canal keeps their film stock in great condition, and Anchor Bay's remastering jobs and transfers are solid.
The real let-down is the lack of extras, especially considering the high price. I'm not the kind of person who demands a commentary on every DVD; I'm more concerned about getting a good transfer. But these are such key films in the history of British cinema that I expected more.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To me, the best movies in this collection are "Dam Busters", "Cruel Sea", and "Went the Day Well?" All are excellent. Read morePublished on July 3, 2011 by Anne B. Goodwin
Great collection of rare, hard to find, really wonderful British war movies. Best of the lot is "The Dam Busters" but all are really good. Read morePublished on April 27, 2009 by Amazon Customer
This is an outstanding collection of B&W British WWII movies. It's cheaper to order this collection rather than buy the movies individually.Published on January 29, 2009 by M. Cowan
This collection brings together five of the older British war stories and is excellent value for anyone who enjoys such movies.Published on January 26, 2007 by J. F. Nasmyth Miller
This set of very British movies deserves viewing. While in B&W, the restored copies are clear and look good on HDTV.Published on January 9, 2007 by Joe Engineer
Excellent collection of the early black and white british movies. some excellent british actorsPublished on March 9, 2006 by B. Patterson
Over the years I have with effort to see a large number of British films and had seen four of the five films in this collection. Read morePublished on October 17, 2005 by Robert Moore
FIRST THE GOOD STUFF
The movies are all very nice indeed and very well transferred to DVD. All of them. Read more
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