War Zone: D-Day to Paris
Eagle Rock Entertainment // Unrated // $9.97 // August 21, 2007
Review by Jeffrey Kauffman | posted September 9, 2007
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
The Movie:
As WWII wound down, the good people at the British Ministry of Information cobbled together this feature (as well as two others in the series, reviewed separately) from various newsreel footage, then sent them out, as they proudly announce in an interstitial prelude, to (vanquished) people speaking 16 different languages. This generous public service had the not so subtle subtext of "Guess what? You lost--big time. And here's film to prove it."

These mini-documentaries no doubt played better in Allied theaters, where the sometimes brutal footage at least let the victors know their sacrifices were not in vain. This was, after all, the last "good war."

This particular part of the trilogy starts with the Normandy invasion and follows the fighting through the liberation of Paris. It's generally well-done, with that understated British flair, with good coverage of Bradley's work to free Cherbourg and De Gaulle's triumphant entry into Paris, where he was quickly shot at by secreted German snipers.

The film is probably best seen as the historical relic it is--don't expect any in-depth analysis or even basic sympathy for the Germans. In 1945-46, political correctness was a thing unheard of, and calling a bad guy a bad guy was de rigeur. That said, there's a bit of unintended irony when the music editor chooses Beethoven as triumphal underscore music for the liberated French.

The DVD

Video:
The unrestored 1.33:1 image has quite a bit of damage, and is degraded and washed out in parts, but is acceptable on its own terms.

Sound:
The original mono soundtrack has actually weathered the ravages of time better than the image and sounds pretty good for its age.

Extras:
A bonus CD of 4 speeches by Churchill is included, which serve to point out the seemingly effortless eloquence of the leaders of yore, something the more linguistically challenged leaders of today could learn from.

Final Thoughts:
This (along with the two others in the series) would make a fine stocking stuffer for that WWII grandpa or great-grandpa. It's also a fine piece of history for any student studying this particular campaign of the war. Its technical limitations and historical blinders probably make it less attractive to the public at large, who, if interested, will want to rent it.



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