Wartime Drama DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video 5.0
Audio 3.0
Special Features 10
Total 8.0
Distributor: TBA
Running Time:
TBA
Classification:
 M15+
Reviewer:
Mike Bourke

8.0


Wartime Drama - 20 Great Wartime Movies

This 4-disk boxed set contains an astonishing 20 movies from the 1940s - a total running time of 1754 minutes or over 29 hours - and cost just $9.95. To be honest, I bought the set for just one of those movies - "Spitfire" - and consider everything else in the bundle to be a bonus. There is something here for just about everyone from drama to action-adventure to romance to a musical. Surprisingly, neither the box nor individual DVD cases have a distributor named.

All but one of the movies are in black and white, which is hardly surprising given their vintage. Some have been poorly digitised; this is especially clear in the action sequences in "Gung HO!" for example. In some cases, they have been transferred from VHS videotapes; this has damaged the sound in the first half of "The Last Chance", for example. Hiss in the soundtrack is also a common problem, but one that was expected. The picture is in 4:3 ratio. Perhaps the most annoying sound problem with the set is that the playover of the menu is much louder than the actual movies - you learn to be teady with the volume control fairly quickly, but this could have been better managed.

Despite these shortcomings, this boxed set is clearly a bargain for anyone who enjoys a good movie regardless of its vintage. There are no "extras" in the modern sense, but buy the set for one movie, as I did, and get 19 more full feature films as a bonus? Things don't get much better than that!

I'm not even going to try to include reviews of all 20 movies. Suffice it to say, having seen them, that I am quite happy to have several of them in my collection. Others are not my cup of tea, as the saying goes, but that's completely forgivable under the circumstances. Here's a full list of the movies included in the package, their production dates, running lengths, and the principle stars:

Disk 1:
Side A:
Submarine Alert (1943, 66m, Richard Arlen)
Gung Ho! (1943, 88m, Randolph Scott)
Private Buckaroo (1942, 68m, The Andrews Sisters)
Side B:
Three Came Home (1950, 105m, Claudette Colbert)
The Last Chance (1945, 104m, Ewart G. Morrison)

Disk 2:
Side A:
Spitfire (1942, 89m, David Niven)
British Intelligence (1940, 60m, Boris Karloff)
Corregidor (1943, 73m, Otto Kruger)
Side B:
One Of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942, 103m, Peter Ustinov)
The Big Lift (1950, 120m, Montgomery Lift)

Disk 3:
Side A:
Blood On The Sun (1945, 98m, James Cagney)
Wings Over The Pacific (1943, 59m, Edward Norris)
Bombs Over Burma (1943, 65m, Anna May Wong)
Side B:
Stage Door Canteen (1943, 132m, Katherine Hepburn)
Sundown (1941, 90m, Gene Tierney)

Disk 4:
Side A:
Go For Broke (1951, 92m, Van Johnson)
Lady From Chunking (1942, 68m, Anna May Wong)
Waterfront (1944, 64m, John Carradine)
Side B:
This Is The Army (194, 114m, Ronald Reagan) (Colour)
We Dive At Dawn (1943, 96m, Anthony Asquith)

A quick scan through that list will reveal names any movie buff will recognise, most no longer with us. I might have wished for "12 O'clock High" and "Command Decision" in a perfect world, but you can't have everything. A WWII comedy might also have been a welcome change of pace. But these are faint criticisms at worst.

Deciding how to rate this boxed set was a bit of a challenge. Do I score all 20 movies as the one "feature?" Or pick one and call the rest extras? With sound and picture quality so variable, do I assign an average in that category? What do I take off for most of the content being in black and white and with a 4:3 screen ratio? No matter how I do it, the ratings will end up being largely meaningless. No matter how you slice it, this collection offers genuine value for money!






 
 



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