- New, restored high-definition digital transfer
- Commentary by film and music historian Bruce Eder
- The Volunteer, a 1943 Powell and Pressburger short starring Ralph Richardson
- A Pretty British Affair, a BBC documentary on the careers of Powell and Pressburger
- Original theatrical trailer
- Booklet with new essay by film scholar Charles Barr and an excerpt Powell's 1941 premiere speech
The Criterion Collection
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A U-boat Nazi and his comrades raid a Canadian outpost, hijack a seaplane and kill to reach the United States.
Criterion's print of this 1941 film is fabulous, however, a few hairs remain, which is odd with the high bar the Criterion Collection sets. The best of the second-disc special features is a 1981 BBC show on directors Powell and Pressburger. We follow Powell around Hollywood with his new job, Senior Director in Resident for Zoetrope Studios, Francis Ford Coppola's all-too-brief attempt to create an independent film studio. We visit the ill-fated set of One from the Heart and also Martin Scorsese (the contemporary Powell advocate) on the other side of town shooting The King of Comedy. There's an hour of Powell's audio dictations for only the serious buff and a rare short by the two filmmakers, The Volunteer. Ralph Richardson plays himself in this little ditty about how a clumsy dresser becomes a sharp volunteer for Britain's war effort. --Doug Thomas
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The 6 man shore party continues their raid on the Hudson Bay Company outpost, and steal a Fairchild 71 float plane sent to investigate. The sailors get picked off one by one on their journey across Canada, first toward Vancouver, then back to Niagra Falls, as they try to get home, pushing a political agenda along the way.
German POWs in Canada made more of an effort to blend in when they made their escapes during the WW2, but that wouldn't suit the intent of this film to rouse the public.
The Volunteer short subject DVD extra contains shots of the Fulmar, Kingfisher, Martlet, Walrus, Seafire, Swordfish, Albacore and attacking Ju-87 and SM-79, but most of the footage is devoted to the story of an actor and his dresser that join the Fleet Air Arm, becoming pilot and aircraft engine mechanic respectively, and reversing the roles of who gets the admiration.
Canada. They try to survive, but resistance is not far away. Wahlbrook, Leslie Howard and Olivier give a first-rate
performance in this taut thriller. Discover the landscape in this one. Terrific.
The only problem I have with this 2-disc edition is that the quality of the image of the main feature is correct, but just that. There are neither scratches nor dirt, but the image is not as sharp and pristine as we all wished it should be, and certainly it's not better than other foreign editions of the same movie.
Nevertheless, this DVD is a MUST HAVE for Powell & Pressburger fans. How so? Just because of the two great extra features that are offered in the second disc:
- THE VOLUNTEER is an amusing and hard-to-find 45' short film made as propaganda for the British Ministry of Information during World War II.
- A PRETTY BRITISH AFFAIR is a 50' documentary about the filmmakers, made in 1981, that is full of surprises for the fans. First of all, there is precious footage of Powell & Pressburger TOGETHER. Either receiving an award, presented to them by Deborah Kerr herself, or either being interviewed for the ocassion, this is the first time I've ever seen such moments captured on film. Powell has been shot or interviewed on several occasions, but never alongside Pressburger. And for Pressburger himself, we've never had the chance of seen him in the flesh, or heard him talk (he really had a thick accent!). Finally, we get to see Powell in the shooting of KING OF COMEDY, with Martin Scorsese, and walking through Zoetrope Studios with Francis Coppola. Certainly we knew that Coppola and Scorsese were big supporters of Powell in his final years, but now we get to see the document.
Never mind the just-correct quality of the main feature, or never mind if you already have the movie... if you love The Archers, you must buy this edition just for the extras.
Some of the greatest Canadian and British actors are in this movie check it out