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World War II: Behind Closed Doors
World War II Behind Closed Doors
Actors: William Amstrong, Keith David, Krzysztof Dracz, Michal Grudzinski, Bob Gunton
Genres: Drama, Television, Educational, Military & War
NR     2009     5hr 46min

Examines the secret meetings and agreements between Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin through reenactments of historical events.

     
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Movie Details

Actors: William Amstrong, Keith David, Krzysztof Dracz, Michal Grudzinski, Bob Gunton
Genres: Drama, Television, Educational, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television, Educational, Military & War
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/26/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 5hr 46min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

MIX OF FACT, MANY OMISSIONS
J. DeMeo | Oregon, USA | 02/18/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I am hesitant to down-rate this to only three stars, because for what it reveals it is quite good. But it fails to discuss some critical facts, which reveal Stalin to be quite even more horrific than is already developed, and both Roosevelt and Churchill acting very much in understandable ways. Through those failures, the DVD reveals that either the author Rees or the producers (or both) had a personal or political axe to grind against the Western Allies. Here's the specifics.

Most centrally important, the entire presentation fails to present with any clarity how Stalin was ruthlessly and systematically slaughtering around 20 million of his own people, both before, during and after the Hitler-Stalin Pact. It is not an error to say the majority of the Whermacht was ground down by the fierce opposition of Soviet troops, for which the West could be grateful -- one can admire their tenacity and fury of the Russian soldier in that fight. But one also loses some measure of sympathy for the overall Soviet cause when realizing that once they liberated their own Soviet territory from Nazi hands, the liberated people were typically subjected to ruthless Red Terror, deportation to gulag death-camps, and Inquisitions about how much they were "contaminated" by mere contact with the Nazi occupation forces.

Churchill certainly knew some of this, and his tiny nation of England was nearly standing alone against Nazi power. America became their weapons' supplier, but only entered the war in full measure after Pearl Harbor. Hitler bungled the first cross-channel invasion, the Battle for Britain, and given time to recover his forces, would have eventually found a way to make a successful cross-channel crossing. England would then also have fallen to Hitlerism. So the desperation to enlist and keep Stalin in the fight against Hitler was intense. And it was also fully understandable that, as the fight neared conclusion, the West had to confront the fact that the Soviet Monster was quite capable of continuing its westward invasions.

Roosevelt on the other hand was quite the American socialist, and was surrounded by Soviet sympathizers. His running mate for the second term, Henry Wallace, was actually a Soviet mole, exposed only by the end of his third term, when he was replaced by Harry Truman. So Roosevelt was even more ignorant to the nature of Soviet duplicity and slaughter. He was no hard communist, but did seem to feel he could "cut a deal" with Stalin, without full appreciation it was a Dance with the Devil.

Each of these Western elected leaders were trying to protect the interests of their countrymen and of the remaining liberated West European nations. While it was a terrible that Poland and other East European nations slid under the Stalinist boot-heel, the realistic choices were stark and abysmal. But to somehow hint or suggest that the blame for that fell upon Churchill or Roosevelt, rather than directly upon Stalin and his henchmen, is outrageous. Stalin had many millions of Red Army troops, with masses of tanks and aircraft, all battle-hardened and ready for any new battle should the West decide to make a strong point about Polish freedom. They were not about to give up anything. The choice was, enter a stale-mate with the Soviets, or continue more bloody war for years to come. They chose stale-mate, and nearly 50 years of a nuclear-armed stand-off in the Cold War.

This point seemed lost in the DVD, which basically erased Stalin's horrific slaughter of his own people, and the massive size and capability of the Red Army starting in late 1944. It also gives too much theatrical attention to those things which might make Roosevelt and Churchill seem conniving and duplicitous. One could find more in their biographies of that period showing great personal courage by both leaders, even if, as imperfect human beings we can pick them apart years later, from the safety of our arm-chairs.

What is excellent, however, is the exposure of lesser-known elements of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, and so if you know something of the historical period, it will be useful for the documentation on that. I would also recommend Russia's War: Blood Upon the Snow, Harvest of Despair: The Unknown Holocaust and The Soviet Story as additional material relevant to this same ugly period of 20th Century history."
Very Informative
VPChicago | 07/09/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My boyfriend and I both found this dvd set very interesting. He's planning to watch it with his dad who was shipped off to the Pacific during the war. I knew Stalin was a tyrant but had no idea all the back stories. I'd recommend it."
The Truth behind WW2
M. Balcerzak | NY, NY | 05/19/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie made by the Brits outlines the behind the scenes look at World War 2. It shows key players and their side line politics which in the end cost other countries loss of land and the freedoms that were fought for during the war. Everyone should watch this to really get a good look at the horrors of that war."