Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Enemy at the Door - Series 1|
Actors: Anthony Bailey, Alfred Burke, Simon Cadell, David Dyke, Keith Hazemore
Directors: Bill Bain, Christopher Hodson, Jonathan Alwyn, Tony Wharmby
Genres: Drama, Television, Military & War
This compelling hit British drama series, produced by London Weekend Television, details the overwhelming pain and frustration experienced by the Channel Islands inhabitants during the German occupation of World War II. Th... more »
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Outstanding British WW2 Period Drama!
Tiggah | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 09/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Set during WW2 on the German-occupied British Channel Island of Guernsey, just a few miles off the coast of France, Enemy at the Door is a compelling, gripping, riveting period drama. I am not a huge fan myself of military drama in general; however, this series captivated our entire family to the point where we eagerly awaited each successive episode. The series was produced between 1977 and 1980, and it is of the same ilk as Upstairs Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke Street (both of which took place in part during the first world war), and Danger UXB. In short, if you've enjoyed any of those series, you will certainly enjoy this one--whether or not you have a particular interest in military drama.
Like the aforementioned shows, Enemy at the Door deals with the subject of war (and in this case the occupation) from a very human and personal perspective; in short, it is not a show about tactics, manoeuvres, and the war from a military perspective. The series centres around the lives of two families: The Martels and the Porteouses. Firstly, there is Dr. Martel, the local physician who is involved in committee work and bridges the gap between the islanders and the governing Germans. Martel is joined by his wife and his strong-willed, fiercely anti-German daughter, Clare. The Martels also have a son, Clive, a British soldier off fighting in the war. The Porteous household consists of Peter, a young farmer and close friend of the Martels who's eager to do his bit as a loyal Brit despite living in occupied territory, and Peter's wheelchair-bound mother. Each episode is a complete, independent story, though there is, as one would expect, carry through of the underlying stories as the war progresses. Other characters come and go, some to be seen only for one episode.
Though the series revolves around the islanders and their plights and predicaments, there are a few high-ranking German officers who are also regulars. Most notably, the man in charge of governing the island, and Dr. Martel's liaison, is Major Richter, a stern but relatively fair man. He's in an unenviable position, forced to make decisions requiring the wisdom of Solomon at times. Then there is the chief of police, Oberleutnant Kluge. A shrewd and very capable bloodhound, he's a hard man who will stand for no nonsense, neither from the islanders nor from the German soldiers. Things get particularly tense, however, whenever the elite German SS get involved, and their presence on the island is represented by the cruel, devious, and hard-as-nails Reinicke. Reinicke is Hitler's man, and whilst Richter, as head of the military unit on the island, is technically Reinicke's superior, Reinicke is dangerous and not a man to be crossed. Ironically, though the enemy of the Germans is technically the native island population, one cannot help feeling that the real enemy of the German military is the SS.
Both this boxed set and the second one consist of thirteen 50-minute episodes each, for a total of 26 episodes. The series bears some similarity to the recently produced Island at War, and certainly if you've enjoyed Island at War you will enjoy Enemy at the Door. Further, you needn't worry (as I did) that this series may be somewhat repetitious. There are some similarities, but only initially (ie. in the first two or three episodes). More to the point, although I saw Island at War prior to Enemy at the Door and although I enjoyed the former series (brief though it was), I have no hesitation in saying that I greatly preferred Enemy at the Door. Like Upstairs Downstairs or Danger UXB, what this series may lack in slick production values it more than makes up for in quality. In short, this is an impeccably-acted, compelling, riveting series with tightly-written, well-crafted storylines that keep a person glued to the show from start to finish, and with 26 episodes the series has been given the necessary time to really develop. I only wish there'd been even more episodes made! I recommend Enemy at the Door extremely highly to all fans of the very best in period drama, British or otherwise.
Fine drama worth the effort
PTR | Bon Aqua, TN USA | 03/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My wife and I watched this after seeing "Island at War" -- an updating of the story of the German occupation of the Channel Islands on Masterpiece Theatre. Although the more recent telling was very similar in some of the plotlines, and had much superior production values, we found that this mid-70's production to be more enjoyable, and oddly enough, more realistic.
This may be because Enemy at the Door is more episodic and deals with a wider range of people, everyone from the upper and upper middle classes, down to the very poor. At any rate, it does seem to give a very credible representation of what the occupation was like. Watching it demands something from the viewer; like much television from its era, it is not dumbed-down to a 12 year-old's level.
Some caveats: Like an earlier reviewer, I wish the Germans, if they were going to speak without subtitles, had used at least mild German accents. Sometimes if a German was not in a Wehrmacht uniform, I wasn't sure if he was a German or not! This might have reinforced the "othnerness" of the invaders. Only the policeman Kluge seemed consistently half-way German-sounding.
I also wish that some of the characters introduced in the episodes had reappeared later. Like characters in "Gunsmoke", folks show up for however many minutes, and then, even though they obviously haven't left the island, are never seen again.
Finally, both my wife and I kept desparately hoping that the Martell's insufferable daughter would be killed off. We haven't watched Series 2 yet. We'll keep hoping.
Notes on the DVDs: An earlier reviewer was quite correct in saying the colors are somewhat washed out. I would not say, then, that this series has been "digitally restored". But I'm not perfectionist on such things.
The "Extra Features" are pretty much worthless. Don't even bother. It would have been very nice to have some sort of historical information about the Channel Islands occupation, since we Americans are fairly ignorant concerning that aspect of WWII.
Compelling WWII drama
drama lover | Alexandria, VA USA | 01/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoyed both series 1 and 2 of Enemy at the Door. It is fine period drama--well-written, wonderfully acted, and a fine production all around. I don't quite understand the negative comments; I didn't feel it was a whitewash at all. Not all German soldiers were Nazis; many were simply young German males who were required to serve. In fact, in the series a German commandant is also a victim of Nazi repression, despite being a stellar German officer. I found it an excellent, insightful series. I highly recommend it to all drama lovers."
Robert L Mitchell | Atlanta, Georgia United States | 05/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this compelling television production of events on English Gurnsey Island during WWII, peaceful island life is transformed overnight by the arrival of the governing military command of occupying German soldiers and officers. But the island can only support so many people .. supplies, food, fuel and medicine become scarce as the Germans hoard for themselves. Tensions fly as the two populations confront eachother: The islanders wish to preserve their lifestyles .. whereas the German military commands respect and control under order of death! Decisions made by each person impact others with dire consequences. Each episode is a cliffhanger!Season one episodes should be watched before season two as the story line continues."