Battle of Britain [DVD] [1969]

  • SKU: 5428496
  • Release Date: 05/20/2003
  • Rating: G
Guy Hamilton's Battle Of Britain (1969) was the first major failure for producer Harry Saltzman, who had enjoyed success for most of the 1960's between the James Bond movies (co-produced with Albert R. Broccoli) and the three Michael Caine-starring "Harry Palmer" spy movies. This disc is the best presentation that the movie has had since its year of release -- there was a letterboxed laserdisc edition released around 1990 that looked decent, but the new transfer runs circles around that laser set in clarity and detail as well as brightness and color. The fields of France as depicted here never looked greener, nor have the details of the planes ever seemed more enticing to the eye -- and when the action takes to the air, the viewer does almost get the feeling of being aloft, the picture is that sharp. The 2.35-to-1 letterboxed image captures the original Panavision picture and the black area below has been used to support the subtitling for the sequences involving the Germans in conversation. Daylight scenes or darker interior shots, there's a vast amount of picture information here to take in, and this is the kind of disc that could swing lingering skeptics over to the format. The audio is mastered well also, particularly the climactic "Battle In The Air" sequence, where the music is essential. None of this alters the fact that the movie is incredibly dull and slow-moving for much of its length. The 132 minute running time seems excessive, and director Guy Hamilton takes forever to get where he is going -- the fact that the 20 chapters are adequate to that running time is indicative of the pacing problems with the picture. Additionally, there is no annotation to speak of -- not even a paper insert with a list of chapters. The makers have left out some obvious supplementary material that could have been included -- Battle Of Britain, like most other major United Artists productions of the period, was the subject of a 15-minute featurette that used to appear regularly on New York television (usually to fill time after baseball games that ran short or long), detailing the movie's production with extensive behind-the-scenes footage. Its inclusion would have made up for the lack of even the most basic essay about the film's history. The low price makes this disc attractive -- it retails for less than a third of what the laserdisc used to cost -- but the flaws in the original film, coupled with the perfunctory treatment of the disc extras negate some of that appeal. In terms of actual play, the disc opens automatically to a very simple two-layer menu with the "Play" option in the default position. The only bonus feature is the original five-minute trailer.
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews


Overall Customer Rating:
97% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (59 out of 61)

Special Features


  • Origional theatrical trailer
  • Origional theatrical english/german mono
  • English, french and spanish language subtitles

Synopsis


Battle of Britain
James Bond-flick director Guy Hamilton helmed this episodic, all-star World War II film. With Sir Laurence Olivier heading up an ensemble cast as flight commander Sir Hugh Dowdling, The Battle of Britain pays tribute to other nationalities instrumental in fending off the waves of Luftwaffe planes, notably the expatriate Polish and Czech pilots. Trevor Howard, Michael Caine, and Michael Redgrave also populate the cast. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew


  • Harry Andrews
    Harry Andrews - Senior Civil Servant
  • Trevor Howard
    Trevor Howard - Air Vice Marshal Keith Park
  • Michael Caine
    Michael Caine - Squadron Leader Canfield
  • Curd Jürgens
    Curd Jürgens - Baron Von Richter
  • Ralph Richardson
    Ralph Richardson - Sir David



Customer rating

4.4
97%
would recommend to a friend
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Thumbs up

    Posted
    Icefell
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    MGM brings Battle for Britain to Bluray in a 1080p/MPEG-2 encoding that overall is very pleasing and natural, but not without some problems. To the good stuff; the print from which the encoding is derived looks free from blemishes and scratches. This is probably the most natural looking presentation I have reviewed so far, no pumped up colors, no highly polished look, no overly contrasted images, just natural looking images that resemble what we see when we go out doors. For this to be a nearly forty year old film, there is an amazing amount of detail both fine (Look at the detail everywhere in Sir David Kelly's office), and far field detail as well (Look out in the distance of outdoor shorts). The film grain looks coarse, but not objectionable. The aerial scenes looked amazing, so amazing that some of the visual effects just fall apart before your very eyes. Quite frankly, the picture quality is quite good, and looks like film on video, not film turned into video by excessive processing and digital manipulation.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Battle of Britain

    Posted
    AlphaCentaur
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    A powerful, colourful and star-studded re-creation of the epic 1940 battle that took place in the skies over England. Surprised and understaffed, the British forces used determination and guile to valiantly hold off the superior forces of the German Luftwaffe in the early days of World War II. If England had lost, the Germans may very well have won the war. The incredible cast includes Michael Caine, Robert Shaw, Curt Jurgens, and Laurence Olivier, in a no-expense-spared production featuring stunning airborne dog-fight sequences.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Good movie with few extras.

    Posted
    DocCarter
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    The movie was very good and the video quality was great, considering the age of the original film. This was made before CGI became so widely available, and, as a result, much of the aviation footage was shot with real airplanes, some of which were modern aircraft modified to look like aircraft of the period, and some were actually borrowed from other countries that were still flying them! Lots of good actors, and a plot which was mostly historically accurate. Recommended.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Great production. Very British.

    Posted
    Chris
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    The production was absolutely outstanding, even by modern standards. It's an interesting movie, and I believe, pretty close to history in its telling. I'm usually pretty good with British accents having traveled the UK, but this is a seriously British movie in vocabulary and accent. Not a show stopper, just a bit frustrating/distracting during an otherwise riveting enactment.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    Long and repetitive

    Posted
    GodzillaMonsterMusic
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    I usually enjoy WW II movies but this one could have been good but for me wasn't. It's a great story but it became boring with basically the same scenes over and over and over. Basically the movie was scenes on the ground talking about the battle and then flying sequences with planes being shot down, then repeat, repeat, repeat.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    A fine tribute to the few.

    Posted
    SmartyMarty
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    Although the effects look a little dated by comparison to today's era of CGI, this movie accurately depicts how Royal Air Force prevented the German invasion of England. Sir Winston Churchill called the greatly outnumbered pilots of the RAF ' the few' to whom the British people owed a tremendous debt for preventing almost certain defeat.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    Long and repetitive

    Posted
    GodzillaMonsterMusic
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    I enjoy a good World War II movie and while I knew a little about what this movie was about I found it to be too long and very repetive. It almost seemed kind of like a Ground Hog Day movie where you kept seeing a lot of the same scenes and action over and over with very little difference.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Great Movie but monophonic is old school

    Posted
    Laneshinkansen

    The movie was great to see in its original release (yes I am that old) at the Ramona Theater in Detroit so it is hard to compete but it did well on the 50" screen. The problem is this DVD is in monophonic and it is a let down. Musta missed that in the description. Still glad I bought it though. It is great to see those old warbirds in flight.

    I would recommend this to a friend


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