Good Documentaries - So-So Movies - Great Price
Howard P. Klopp | Chicago, IL United States | 10/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Documentaries: Most were made during WW2 so they were meant to bolster morale. So some details are missing. But they are fast paced with a lot of action and great film shots. They cover most areas of the war. Excellent value.
After Mein Kampf - British documentary made during WW2 mostly covers the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany and the Hitler Youth.
The Secret Life of Adolf Hitler - Some more info about Hitler.
The Nazis Strike - Events leading up to the invasion of Poland along with the military campaign of its fall.
Divide and Conquer - One of the better documentaries made during WW2 covers the fall of Denmark, Holland, the Netherlands, Norway and France.
The Battle of Britain - Propaganda film made during WW2, has a lot of action and is interesting. However, if you want a more realistic view of what actually happened and losses encored, you may want to get the movie Battle of Britain.
The Battle of Russia - This propaganda film by the US government has so many blatant lies and half truths that it is almost painful to watch. However, it is a good example why people should not fully trust the US government to tell them the truth.
The Great Battle of the Volga - Russian documentary of the WW2 battle of Stalingrad.
Submarine Warfare - Actually this contains 2 documentaries. The first is the capture of the German submarine U505 during WW2 by the Americans (now on display in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago). Second is the use of submarines by the US in the Pacific in WW2. Much of the second documentary was staged.
Combat America - Documentary of life of a US B17 squadron. The narration is a bit corny at times. But the film is OK.
The Memphis Belle - This documentary made during WW2 is about the first US bomber which completed 25 missions in Europe.
Thunderbolt - Shows what life and combat is like for a group of P47 fighter pilots in Italy during WW2. Slow paced.
Desert Victory - British WW2 documentary covering the battles from El Alamein to the attack on Tripoli in north Africa.
Tunisian Victory - Another good documentary. This time about the North African campaign from the time of the Torch landings until the final victory over the Axis. Well made, well paced. It was made in 1944 so it does not discuss Allied failures.
The Battle of San Pietro - Attack on a town in Italy during WW2.
True Glory - Documentary made in 1945 which summarizes the war in western Europe from the build up for D-Day until the final victory. Highlights major campaigns. Good, fast paced, but limited detail as it is only 81 minutes long.
Nuremberg Trials - War crimes trial after WW2.
Prelude to War - Documentary made during WW2 showing events that lead up to the war. A lot of it is propaganda
The Battle of China - Interesting documentary made during WW2 covering the first 12 years of the war between China and Japan. Discusses the major campaigns of Japan against China.
The Stilwell Road - Documentary focuses on the opening of the road from India to China during WW2 to keep supplies flowing to the Chinese troops. Covers both the combat for and construction of the road.
December 7, 1941 - Made during WW2, many facts were omitted for security reasons. The documentary also shows US Dauntless dive bombers painted up to look like Japanese Vals. However, is interesting and has a lot of action.
Report from the Aleutians - WW2 documentary setting up an air base in the Alaskan Aleutian islands.
Attack! The Battle for New Britain - This documentary covers the US attack on the island of New Britain in the Pacific. It covers the training, invasion, and combat of US forces during the attack. Contains some interesting jungle fighting footage. My favorite of the documentaries in the set.
Attack in the Pacific - Covers Pearl Harbor and Midway battles and island hopping campaign. Info more flawed that other documentaries.
Payoff in the Pacific - Good, fast paced documentary, made after WW2, summarizes the major US campaigns in the Pacific. Limited detail because it is only 77 minutes long.
To the Shores of Iwo Jima - This 41 min documentary, made during WW2, is actually 2 in one. The first part is about the battle of Iwo. The second is the invasion of Guadalcanal. Made to build up the moral of the people back home.
Appointment in Tokyo - This 55 minute documentary made just after WW2 mostly covers the re-conquest of the Philippines by the US.
Marines at Tarawa-Return to Guam - Short documentary with a quick summary of the 2 invasions.
The KGB Connections
THREE CAME HOME
THE DEVIL'S CAVALIER'S
THE MARK OF THE HAWK
ESCAPE FROM ANGOLA
THE PROUD AND THE DAMNED
THE TORCH PAULETTE
HELL IN NORMANDY
THE ADVENTURS OF TARTU
THE LAST CHANCE
BLOOD ON THE SUN - James Cagney is a reporter trying to expose the Japanese Tanaka plan to conquer China and the US.
FLYING BLIND - Not a war movie. Sappy movie about a pilot who captures a hijacker.
EAGLE IN A CAGE
THE BIG LIFT - Interesting film about the Berlin airlift after WW2. The story is of an airman who meets a lady in Berlin, shows what her life is like, and considers getting married.
THIS IS THE ARMY
GO FOR BROKE - So-so film about the US 442 battalion of Japanese Americans in WW2. Mostly stories about the men, not much combat and little about their famous combat history.
Buy for the documentaries
John Robertson | Phoenix, AZ | 07/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't elaborate much more on content as many other reviews do a good job of this. The set, as you probably know now, is a mixture of documentaries and movies recorded on 12, dual-sided DVD's. As it would happen, the majority of the movies are on the first few DVD's. As I watched them in numerical order, I was somewhat disappointed in the movies. Some aren't bad, but others just couldn't hold my interest -- curious, as I have quite a war-movie collection and I can usually find something in a plot that makes me want to watch. Others, the video and sound quality is below average. For example, the Adventures of Tartu is a re-edit of Sabotage Agent. It's a good movie, but the blurry quality, tight edits, and muddy sound almost make it unwatchable to me, having seen the more complete Sabotage Agent on TCM. While the majority of movies relate to WWII, not all do. Despite having so many movies included for less than $30, I was considering only giving the set 3 of 5 stars, as all I had been seeing so far were the movies. The documentaries pulled the rating up.
And boy, did they pull it up. Many of the documentaries are excellent, several even filmed in color during WWII. I didn't get this fact from any other reviews, and the (6? or so) full color documentaries are worth the price of the entire set alone. They typically deal with the Pacific war, such a Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Kiska/Dutch Harbor. Others, mostly in black and white, deal with the European theatre, and another good one was about Soviet/US/Canada spy networks. Curiously, this last one was in B&W, despite being made in the early 1980's. There is a great deal of real combat footage, and I was surprised how much I could see and learn about what it was like for those involved. Some have alarming scenes. Black and white images can sometimes distance the viewer from what the actual scenes are showing, but I tend to see past that now and images in this way can occasionally be grisly, which of course is the true face of war. You can grasp a sense of what it was really like for those who were there.
Most of the documentaries are made with the style typical of the time, with patriotic cues, or certain production values that look quite different from television today. Personally, I like the style as it's authentic, but some may not agree.
If the set only included the documentaries it would easily get 5/5 stars. I consider the movies a throw-in. Overall score is 5/5, as even if you ignored all the movies, each documentary would average only $1 a piece. Unbeatable."
Unlocked 67 years of questions
S. Wyckoff | 06/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thank you for making this DVD set available. This unlocked 67 years of many questions I had about what my dad probably lived through and who spent a year and a half in the miseries of Guadacanal as a Comm Officer for the 43rd Infantry Div, 1942 and 43. He also spent many years in Germany and was called back in after 30 years service for the Laos Crisis because he learned Mandarin (Chinese) collecting intelligence for the League of Nations on the Yankze River in the late 30's. What few times I had the chance to see him, he wouldn't talk about the horrors of his experiences."