Michael A Dorosh | Calgary, AB, CANADA | 08/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My earlier review was done under a seperate login; Amazon's new "real name" policy has unforunately disassociated my earlier review from my new persona. However, it gives me the opportunity to discuss the extra features of the DVD, which I did not do before.
I was surprised to see this broken down into two seperate discs, and more suprised to see each disc get its own case (both are housed in a cardboard box). Seemed like a bit of a waste.
However, the extra content is very good - though not outstanding.
A CBC special done in 1992 has a journalist interviewing three veterans of the battle - including distinguished historian Denis Whitaker, the only officer of his brigade to land at Dieppe and then return to England unwounded on the day of the battle. It's a nice set of interviews, done in Dieppe.
There is a 7 minute bit from the CBC show Midday on the second disc also which claims to be a "behind the scenes" look. There are some comments by the film's director etc. but a lot of scenes from the movie are inserted in - this was obviously being done as advertising for the miniseries rather than an indepth study, and it was certainly not done specifically for the CD.
Most interesting to me, however, was the 60 minute documentary included as the final special feature. Shot in black and white in 1962, it includes many interviews with actual participants and historians. There are no introductory credits, however, and the start of the segment is a little jarring, but among those interviewed are
Field Marshal Montgomery (later Viscount Montgomery of Alamein)
Denis Whitaker (at that time a captain and later a distinguished historian who wrote DIEPPE: TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH, as a retired Brigadier General)
Lieutenant Colonel "Cec" Merritt, VC
Major Gorowny-Rees (Combined Operations Headquarters)
As well as historian Terence Roberts, whose book THE SHAME AND THE GLORY is the defining look at Dieppe, and which was just coming into print at that time (ignore the plug for the book in the video!) and also Colonel Charles P. Stacy, the official historian of the Canadian Army in WW II whose books continue to be a prime source of info for scholars and students of Canada's participation in WW II.
For anyone who has studied these personalities, it is a bit of a thrill to see what they look and sound like when talking, and the conversations are interesting. They discuss the "piece of cake" legend that has grown out of the Dieppe raid, for example. If watched in conjunction with reading some of the literature (such as Brian Loring-Villa's book, on which the miniseries was based), it is interesting to see the claims that some of the commanders made on camera and compare and contrast to the historical record.
The special features could have been improved - a full length "making of" would have been appreciated. There are so many items of WW II equipment in the film that just assembling it would have been an interesting story, and the special effects - especially recreating Blue Beach so faithfully - would be another. Would have been nice also to see interviews with some of the actors.
However, as it is, the special features - while culled directly from the CBC archives with a minimum of fuss - are interesting and worth the price of the DVD.
In addition to the opening of the documentary, there is also a lengthy tract that is actual repeated, and there are parts where the picture is lost - no doubt faithful to the original broadcast of this documentary but probably not necessary for the DVD version. It would appear the documentary was not edited for this DVD but simply thrown on as an extra feature. Pity, as the documentary itself is quite good, and does include much motion picture footage shot on 19 August 1942, as well as other "stock" footage."
Factually questionable, but still compelling.
Rottenberg's rotten book review | nyc | 08/27/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Dieppe" tells the story of a large, costly raid by allied troops on the French coast in the late summer of 1942. Whether the "raid" was a success or failure, and to what extent it was either, aren't questions expressly resolved in this made-for TV movie - though the script makes it obvious where it stands. In 1942 there were hints that the tide was turning for allies on every front but western Europe. (American in the Pacific had by then contained Japanese forces in the battle of Coral Sea, and decisively defeated them at Midway; However, the battle for Stalingrad had barely begun, while the second battle of El Alamein in North Africa was months away.) Thus, pressure was mounting against England to match the heat that others brought to bear against the Axis. With American involvement still limited, the British tried to make do with raids - attacks meant to hurt the enemy without seeking long-term gains. This film posits Dieppe, the latest and largest of the raids, followed a policy of show-warfare - a propaganda mission meant to parallel the stirring but militarily irrelevant Doolittle raid on Tokyo. Early successful raids (like one on ports in Occupied France used to shelter Nazi battleships and surface raiders) only spur the British to mount even more daring attacks. With Lord Mountbatten pressured by Churchill to do something to impress Stalin and the Americans, the plan to mount an amphibious raid on the French coast with a division-sized force quickly comes into play. With Montgomery planning a direct assault, and the RN and RAF pledged to support the landing forces with their battleships and bombers, the British turn to Canadian troops to hit Dieppe.
This flick follows the players in the raid - the planners, and a sliver of the Canadians meant to stand in for all the soldiers. At the outset, the signs of disaster seem clear to everybody - Soldiers who can't cross the channel without getting sea-sick, or the landing craft navigators who can't seem to find the French coast; Montgomery is obsessed with his plans, even as he learns of plan changes after the fact (the RN, stretched thin already, yanks their battleships - a fact Monty learns off-the-cuff at a staff meeting). If Montgomery appears a victim of his own ambitions, Lord Mountbatten (Victor Garber) is the obvious villain, blithely enabling the other planners to prepare the raid, even though its overall military purpose never materializes, and the anticipated human costs rise. As in "A Bridge Too Far", the British plan follows the line of least resistance - anticipating only the best-case scenario. If Mountbatten is the baddie, then the hero is Canadian Mag-Gen Roberts, who signs his soldiers onto the raid and stays loyal to it even as it unravels. Though he knows the Canadians need to do something for the war, he never loses his doubts or his concern for his troops. By the end of the battle (which occupies the last half-hour of the movie) Dieppe is littered with the dead for no apparent profit, while the leads try to make sense of it all. Mountbatten, unaffected by the suffering expended to hit Dieppe, boldly claims the operation a crucial learning experience for the eventual invasion of Europe. It's unclear how D-Day would have looked had the Dieppe raid been cut, but the script here makes it all but obvious that even Mountbatten thought the excuse facile - an after the fact claim needed to explain the immense costs of the raid. Roberts looks ennobled in comparison; though one wonders what role he could have had in forestalling, altering or simply canning a division-sized landing made for no strategic objective. The script implies Roberts as torn between his duties as a soldier and his loyalty to his men - but did loyalty really require he squander his men in an unnecessary raid? Thanks to George C. Scott, we know that a soldier's job is to make sure that the enemy gets to do all the dying, but then again, given the choice ahead of time, nobody wanted to be the guy who got to spend the war shoveling horse hockey in Louisiana.
I'm no historian, but I found this flick at least compelling enough for me to look further, and sometimes, that's the best you can get from TV."
Well portrayed valor in tribue to the Canadians who faught t
Michael N. Ryan | Bel AIr, Maryland USA | 08/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Saw this one on television a few years ago. Actually wrote a review which appears to have been lost.
Anyway, I loved this film for its realistic portrayal.
You feel sorry for the Canadians who have been part of the cause since the beginning but have yet to get their troops 'into the game' before the boys from south of the border come in and take things over. However one should learn from this one that getting into the game is a good thing but one should still be very careful in the doing. This one cost Canadian troops blood. Lots of casualties and achieved nothing.
It is a story of naked egos. Dicky Mountbatten's in peticular. For this is his mess. His ego got it going and into the meat grinder not for any great allied goal but just to make himself a name. The fellow who portays him does this job quite well.
It also shows how not to get an operation like this going. Shows how this was mishandled from the beginning.
A good cast. Well portrayed. Easy to identify with. The leading Canadian General in peticular one can like and identify with. In adition there is that rogue in the ranks. A good story. A wonderful set of scenes. Excellent costuming and superior action scenes. A very good film.