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America: Stories of War 36 DVD Collection
America Stories of War 36 DVD Collection
Actors: James Cagney, Claudette Colbert, Ronald Reagan, Richard Arlen, Randolph Scott
Director: Various
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Educational, Documentary, Military & War
NR     2008     170hr 0min

This incredible collection from Mill Creek Entertainment contains over 170 hours of documentaries and feature films that capture America at war. The Civil War, World War I, World War II, The Korean War and the Vietnam Conf...  more »
     
     
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Movie Details

Actors: James Cagney, Claudette Colbert, Ronald Reagan, Richard Arlen, Randolph Scott
Director: Various
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Educational, Documentary, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Educational, Military & War, Military & War
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 10/14/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 170hr 0min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 36
SwapaDVD Credits: 36
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Jaw Dropping Collection of War Documentaries and Films
Robert Huggins | Suburban Philadelphia, PA United States | 01/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""America: Stories of War" is a huge collection of 36 DVDs, representing over 170 hours (7+ days!!!) of war documentaries and theatrical films dealing with various conflicts throughout America's history. Attractively packaged in a tin designed to look like an ammo can (complete with battle scars), this collection from Mill Creek Entertainment assembles two of their sets in a single, larger package, including a documentary set that's also titled America Stories of War and a 50 movie set titled Combat Classics 50 MoviePack.

The documentaries are spread over 24 single-sided DVDs and cover the following:

* The Civil War (10 documentary segments)
* World War I (10 segments)
* World War II (91 segments)
* The Korean War (32 segments)
* The Vietnam War (51 segments)

One might quibble about the exclusion, especially, of the Revolutionary War and other conflicts such as the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, and the current War in Iraq, but with nearly 200 documentary segments included for the five conflicts listed above, it's easy to overlook these omissions. There's also a certain amount of propaganda throughout some of the documentaries, but that's largely overshadowed by some extraordinary images captured by numerous combat photographers.

Both the Civil War and World War I documentaries were produced by Creation Films and are of recent vintage, carrying a 2008 copyright date (the only licensed material in this otherwise public domain collection). As I viewed the Civil War documentary segments, they reminded me of a poor man's version of "Ken Burns' The Civil War" that was broadcast on PBS. While the production values aren't in the same class as the Burns film, the narration is compelling in its own way and, after a slow start, I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the material. The World War I documentaries fare a bit better; motion picture cameras had been developed by that time and cameras were taken into battle. I hadn't heard about Creation Films before watching these two documentaries, but despite what must have been a modest budget, the documentaries are well done and I'd be interested in seeing other documentaries that the company might produce in the future.

The World War II segments comprise the largest portion of the documentaries and include some notable documentaries that were developed for television, including NBC's Emmy award winning "Victory at Sea" (yes, the original Richard Rodgers/Robert Russell Bennett score is intact), "Crusade in Europe," which was one of the earliest war documentary series developed for television, running on ABC from May to October of 1949, and "Crusade in the Pacific," a syndicated series. All of the World War II films that were part of Frank "It's a Wonderful Life" Capra's "Why We Fight" series are also included in this grouping.

Many of the Korean War segments are from yet another television documentary series, "The Big Picture," that ran on ABC from 1953 to 1959. This series was produced by the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense. Likewise, the Vietnam War segments are also government productions, but some of the segments are in color.

The films selection is a decidedly mixed bag as the films included consist of older films that have slipped into the public domain due mainly to lapses in copyright registrations. There are some bonafide classics and near classics in this group, including "One of Our Aircraft is Missing" and "The Immortal Battalion" (both British films made during the years of World War II), as well as "Go for Broke" and "Blood on the Sun," among a few others. But the vast majority of the films are B-movie programmers from the U.S., England, and Europe that were produced between the 1930s and 1980s. There are even a few made-for-TV movies in the mix, including "The Black Brigade" a/k/a "Carter's Army" and "Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil." The bulk of these films are focused during the World War II era, but a few films like "Drums in the Deep South" and "Hearts in Bondage" are set in the Civil War era and then there's the odd film like "Eagle in a Cage" that tells the story of Napoleon's exile and "The Mark of the Hawk," a drama that uses an African uprising as its backdrop.

The films appear to be unrestored, but are in relatively good shape. However, most of the discs have four films on a single side, so there is some occasional digital breakup/blurring in scenes where there is a lot of motion, due to the compression of so many films on each disc. But, considering that a collection like this is the only way that many of these older films will ever see a release on DVD, they are generally acceptable.

The challenge for many purchasers of this set will be finding time to view the many hours that are included in this collection and, in fact, this is one of the few times where it's fair to say that this collection offers years of viewing pleasure. In fact, this set is so large that viewers will need to pace themselves, perhaps watching a film each week along with several of the documentary segments. Veterans, military enthusiasts and those interested in a visual history of America's conflicts will find much to like in this set. While the documentary segments (comprising two-thirds of this set) rate an easy *****, the theatrical film selection isn't quite up to scratch and, as such, my overall rating for the set is closer to **** & ½.
"
Ammo can brimming with not bullets, but war documentaries an
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 01/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"AMERICA: STORIES OF WAR 36 DVD COLLECTION from MILL CREEK ENTERTAINMENT combines their previously issued 24 disc war documentary set with COMBAT CLASSICS 50 MOVIE PACK, for a total of 170-plus hours of programming. Several of the documentaries included here are licensed exclusively to this manufacturer. Audio and video transfer quality is generally quite good, but does depend in some cases on condition of vintage stock footage.

This unique package consists of discs stored in heavy black paper envelopes; each has a circular-shaped cellophane window on one side for quick identification of the dvds. The set's container is a well-constructed olive drab tin replica of an ammunition box. The hinged lid is held securely closed at one narrow end by a spring-loaded clasp. It also has an attached lunch box style handle for easy transport. Opening the top reveals an insert photo of loose copper-tipped ammo. Flip this up for access to DVDs and a 40-page contents booklet.


Overview of DOCUMENTARIES--

AMERICA DIVIDED (2008) - Includes vintage maps, photos, newspapers and art, plus re-enactor footage and animated break-downs of troop movements during battle. Narration: Ray Foushee. Superior transfer quality.

THE WAR TO END WAR (2008) - Rare vintage films and photos, plus animated maps tell the story of the first global conflict of 1914-18. Narrator: Fred North. Good quality transfer.

GREAT BATTLES OF WORLD WAR II - Various contemporary U.S. gov't and studio shorts report the war's progress. Most show actual battle footage captured by Signal Corp and other cameramen. With contributions from Hollywood actors, directors and crews. Most films are in remarkably good condition for their age.

WAR IN EUROPE and WAR IN THE PACIFIC - "Europe" consists of 26 chapters while "Pacific" has 24. Certain segments appear dark. Some include modern narration. Hard to identify these as none have original credits. "Mill Creek" logo appears on-screen occasionally.

VICTORY AT SEA - Award-winning half-hour series first broadcast on the NBC-TV network in 1952. Scored by Richard Rodgers, with narration provided by Leonard Graves. Original films are well-preserved. Audio is muffled on some episodes.

THE FORGOTTEN WAR - Includes chapters of TV series "The Big Picture" that originally aired beginning in 1953, plus a John Ford-directed color documentary (that's blurry), Some titles have muffled sound, other appear grayish.

AMERICA'S CONFLICT - Color and b&w government-produced films of varying transfer quality are quite interesting overall. Famous actors contribute narration for some.


FOR COMPLETE PROGRAMMING DETAILS, SEE COMMENT #1
(Link for this is located directly below)"
Dad loved it
CollectedSounds | Minneapolis, Minnesota USA | 02/24/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I got this for my father for Xmas. He's a huge WW2 buff. He said the first dvd he watched was poor quality and he was worried but that the others were great. My step mom said she wanted to quit her job so she could stay home and watch them all over and over again. So it was a hit. For the price especially, I think it's a great deal."
Great servce
M. Peck | united kingdom | 07/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was suprised to recieve this order so quick when othr have still not arrived that i ordered earlier, This was a gift for my father so I have not watched them but i can safley say that he was overjoyed at being given this item,I received it in great condition and still wrapped ...thank you for your service"