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Von Ryan's Express/Tora! Tora! Tora!/Twelve O'Clock High/The Blue Max [4 Discs] [DVD]
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Overview

Synopsis

Von Ryan's Express
Von Ryan's Express is a fast-paced, well-acted World War II drama, featuring a squadron of Allied soldiers trying to escape a prison camp in Italy. While most of the prisoners at the camp are British, a determined, resourceful American Air Force colonel (Frank Sinatra) takes charge and leads the escape, which requires that the prisoners wrest control of a German train and propel it through Italy to Switzerland. The subsequent ride, featuring good special effects and outstanding stunt work, is great fun and very suspenseful. Frank Sinatra makes an effective action hero aided by veteran actor Trevor Howard as a British officer. The CinemaScope photography is outstanding and director Mark Robson directs the exciting action sequences with skill. ~ Linda Rasmussen, Rovi

Twelve O'Clock High
How much can a man give? When the U.S. 8th Army Air Force 918th Bombardment group is ordered on their fourth harrowing mission in four hard days, Brigadier General Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) demands "maximum effort." The bombers are forced to fly lower, to fly farther, and to test themselves -- overspent and fatigued -- right up until death's door. When their dedicated colonel speaks out in their defense, Savage mercilessly takes over command -- an officer should not sympathize with his men. The Brigadier General will compel the 918th to stop pitying itself and to hone its morale in the face of danger. Yet, as the men grow colder due to Savage's orders and the missions bring them closer to their crucial German targets, the officer learns the practical impossibility of raising the confidence of young men while also sending them to their deaths. He begins to understand that it is the burden of command that makes even the toughest leader sympathetic. Eventually caring for his men above all else, it is Savage who is forced to carry the hardships of "maximum effort" -- asking himself, how much can a man take? ~ Aubry Anne D'Arminio, Rovi

The Blue Max
Based on a novel by Jack D. Hunter, The Blue Max is a World War I aviation drama, told from the German point of view. Low-born infantryman George Peppard becomes a pilot, almost deliberately stepping on the sensibilities of his aristocratic comrades in the process. A national hero, Peppard wins the Blue Max, the highest award that can be bestowed upon an aviator. His fame is exploited by general James Mason, who tolerates Peppard's affair with Mason's wife Ursula Andress. The canny Mason knows that, eventually, Peppard will be expendable, and a "heroic" death can be arranged. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Tora! Tora! Tora!
This 25-million dollar epic collaboration accurately recreates the events that led to the Japanese attack on the American naval base during World War II. With Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the wheels are set in motion by Japan to plan the attack. After internal differences in the government, the Japanese quickly mobilize plans for the assault. Key American personnel ignored warnings of the possibility of Japanese aggression. The first part of the film divides scenes from both countries. Part two contains spectacular battle scenes of the bombing that destroyed the American naval base of operations in Hawaii. Governmental errors on both sides add to the confusion, but the Japanese ultimately carry out the deadly mission. The film did well in Japan, did not do well in the he United States, and took years to make back the production costs. It remains an insightful and well crafted World War II action drama that was the result of years of negotiations between the two countries. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Frank Sinatra
    Frank Sinatra - Colonel Joseph Ryan
  • Trevor Howard
    Trevor Howard - Maj. Eric Fincham
  • Raffaella Carrà
    Raffaella Carrà - Gabriella
  • Brad Dexter
    Brad Dexter - Sergeant Bostick
  • James Brolin
    James Brolin - Pvt. Ames
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