British War Collection (The Cruel Sea/The Ship That Died of Shame/Went the Day Well?/The Dam Busters/The Colditz Story)
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Experience all the explosive drama of a nation at war by land, sea and air. The five classic films in this collection starring such screen legends as Michael Redgrave, Richard Attenborough, John Mills, Jack Hawkins, Stanley Baker, Robert Shaw and more are now presented uncut and fully restored, depicting the men and women of Great Britain at their most compassionate and courageous. These are British war movies finest hours.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
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. Colditz Castle in Germany was used to imprison the most incorrigible prisoners-of-war, those who persistently made escape attempts. British, French, Polish and Dutch officers were sent there. Unfortunately for the Germans, they wound up trying to keep inside men dedicated to escaping, and who had skills they now could share. The result was that more prisoners of war escaped from Colditz than from any other prisoner of war camp in either the First or Second World Wars.
The movie is based on the memoirs of Pat Reid (John Mills), who served as an escape officer at Colditz and then was one of the first to break out and make it back to England. While the movie is a bit dated, it also is a dramatic and efficient telling of escape attempts, ruses played against the German captors and, of course, of the unfailing courage and good spirits of the British officers.
If you're fond of old British movies, you'll recognize, among others, Eric Portman, Lionel Jeffries, Bryan Forbes and Ian Carmichael. The DVD I saw has a picture and audio in very good shape considering the age of the movie.
The Cruel Sea (1953) is, in my view, one of the best movies yet made dealing with naval warfare in WWII. It's the story of the Compass Rose, newly commissioned in 1940 as a convoy escort, and the officers and men who served on her. Her captain (Jack Hawkins) was fresh from the merchant marine; her new officers had seen almost no sea duty. They learned on the job as they protected convoys in the North Atlantic and then in the run to the Mediterranean.
What makes this movie so good is its matter-of-factness. There are no heroics, just men learning their jobs, doing their duty, with some dieing and some surviving. The scene where Captain Ericson decides to use depth charges to destroy a suspected submarine hiding below a group of struggling survivors from a torpedoed freighter is harrowing. The DVD I saw has a good but by no means first-class image transfer.
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. There's a nice 6-page booklet of liner notes, but nothing else -- no trailers, no photo galleries, no video introductions. Since Michael Anderson (director of Dam Busters) and Guy Hamilton and John Mills (director and star of Colditz Story) are still with us, I think Anchor Bay passed up a wonderful opportunity to provide some important extras, in the form of commentaries or audio/video interviews. It's a real shame, but it doesn't diminish the power or entertainment value of the movies.
The box set is packaged just like Anchor Bay's Werner Herzog collections. There are five DVDs, and each is contained in its own thin-case. The thin-cases are held in a folder that slides out of a very handsome -- and sturdy -- box. The box itself is about the size of three regular DVD cases.
Please note that the DVDs do indeed contain the UNCUT versions of these film. That means that this print of The Dam Busters contains the original name of Richard Todd's pet dog. (The dog's name is a racist slur that was changed to "Trigger" in earlier U.S. releases -- though it should be noted that the original word has always carried less ugly connotations in the UK than in the States.) People sensitive to racist elements in older films should be aware of this, but kudos to Anchor Bay for not censoring or sugar-coating its presence!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The movies are all very nice indeed and very well transferred to DVD. All of them.Read more
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Boxed Sets > Action & Adventure
- Movies & TV > Boxed Sets > Classics
- Movies & TV > Boxed Sets > Drama
- Movies & TV > Boxed Sets > Military & War
- Movies & TV > Classics
- Movies & TV > Educational
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Action & Adventure
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Documentary
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Drama
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Military & War
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Mystery & Thrillers
- Movies & TV > Movies