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Overlord (Criterion Collection)
Criterion Collection
Actors: Brian Stirner, Davyd Harries, Nicholas Ball, Julie Neesam, Sam Sewell
Director: Stuart Cooper
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
NR     2007     1hr 23min

Seamlessly interweaving archival war footage and a fictional narrative, Stuart Cooper?s immersive account of one 20-year-old?s journey from basic training to the battle front lines at D-day brings all the terrors and isola...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Brian Stirner, Davyd Harries, Nicholas Ball, Julie Neesam, Sam Sewell
Director: Stuart Cooper
Creators: John Alcott, Stuart Cooper, Jonathan Gili, James Quinn, Christopher Hudson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 04/17/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/1975
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1975
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 23min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 19
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 02/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This incredible film is a dreamlike recreation that mixes real vintage footage with original film as it follows an ordinary young British bloke from his military induction to D Day.

Wonderfully evocative on every level. The photography is extraordinary. Powerful images shimmer next to the sublime. The very human dilemma of how to make sense of life and war has never been told better. A great film."
Special features practically outdo the film
Richard E. Hourula | Berkeley, CA. United States | 06/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Overlord" is a curious film that blends archival footage into a fictional account of a typical British soldier preparing for the D-Day invasion. While I found "Overlord" lacking as a narrative, it was a worthy cinematic experiment and should be of particular interest to anyone interested in World War II.

Made in England in 1975 with the help of the Imperial War Museum, "Overlord" was not released in the United States until 2006. This long overdue DVD release helps atone somewhat for the film's long absence from North American markets.

"Overlord" is a short sometimes choppy story that manages as well as might be expected to integrate actual footage of Nazis and Allied troops in action including bombing raids and their devastating results. While the focus of the story is on one soldier's enlistment in the British Army and training for D-Day, it is an at times powerful meditation on war's effect on individuals. "Overlord" specifically examines the mindset of soldiers preparing for battle especially as they face the reality of their own mortality.

The real triumph of the DVD is the bonus features. On one such feature two representatives of the Imperial War Museum speak about the making of the film, specifically the archival footage. Another is a tribute to war photographers that was made in 1943. "Germany Calling" produced by the British government's propaganda arm during the war, is a very funny spoof of the Nazis.

As is always the case with Criterion films, the DVD is pricey (they don't do anything on the cheap) but as is also always the case with Criterion, the movie and all features are presented in pristine condition.

"Overlord" is an important edition to the many outstanding films on World War II, bold in its ambition and significant for its use of actual footage. And in this DVD release, the bonus features are not just add ons."
"A smaller and smaller part of a bigger and bigger machine..
Clare Quilty | a little pad in hawaii | 06/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"One young British soldier, who celebrates his 20th birthday while training for the impending D-Day invasion, writes a letter to his parents and tells them that as time passes, he feels like a smaller and smaller part of a bigger and bigger machine.

Being a small component of a massive device is the central idea behind Stuart Cooper's "Overlord," an odd, hazy, child's-fever-dream of a movie that uses staged black-and-white scenes interspersed with actual archival footage from World War II.

We follow Tom (Brian Stirner) through a drab, dispiriting round of basic training; his experiences are interspersed with separate scenes of battle, of invasion and aftermath to illustrate events going on "meanwhile" all around him, events leading up to Normandy.

The movie is a truly unique visual experience. John Alcott shot the storyline scenes (just before he began work on "Barry Lyndon") and the movie has a look not unlike "The Elephant Man," or its thematic brother, "Johnny Got His Gun."

Though the incorporation of actual footage is very smooth, I never had any trouble distinguishing what came from the 40s and what was shot in the 70s. That didn't ruin the experience for me: Look at the hauntingly beautiful scenes involving bombers flying above the cloudline at night, or a harrowing training sequence in which a rowboat ditches its passengers onto rocks (Cooper reveals in his commentary that one or two men actually died during the exercise).

With its short, spare narrative and its stark conclusion, "Overlord" almost feels like a short story of a movie, but that doesn't downplay its impact or importance. This is a little-known movie worth reviving and it gets a fine Criterion presentation here. The commentary with Copper and Sterner is particularly good; it's worth listening to to hear how they did it even if you don't particularly connect with the film."
Josh Shapero | Thornhill, Ontario Canada | 05/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"WOW!...Another amazing hidden gem from the folks at criterion..if you are a an avid fan of Criterion, and the amazing films they bring to viewer's attention, you owe it to yourself to buy and watch Overlord. An amazing film, the story line is shot in an amazing way, mixed with real world war 2 stock footage...the film plays like a dream. A war film directed by David Lynch!....The composition of each shot, angle is carfefuly thought out by the filmakers...It is a haunting film, and stayed with me for days!....check it out!, one of the best dvd's of the year!."