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  Directed by
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Full Frame
    Ice Cold in Alex
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
    The Dambusters
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
    The Cruel Sea
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
    The Colditz Story
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  • None
    Ice Cold in Alex
  • Theatrical trailer
    The Dambusters
  • Theatrical trailer
    The Cruel Sea
  • Theatrical trailer
The British War DVD Collection
Universal/Universal . R4 . B&W . 459 mins . PG . PAL


The classic British war movie was a far different animal from the standard American affair.

Quiet heroism was the order of the day, not the gung-ho exploits of a John Wayne single-handedly storming an island infested with Japanese.

And of all British war movies, there is none finer than the key film in this collection, The Dambusters. It is the lead; although the supporting cast (The Cruel Sea, The Colditz Story and Ice Cold in Alex) all have their strengths.

To emphasise their gritty reality, all these movies are shot in glorious black-and-white, and feature pristine mono soundtracks. Explosions are kept in their right place, in this subwoofer free warfare zone. No window-shattering explosions are needed; these stories are powerful enough on their own.

Individual titles reviews
REVIEW: Ice Cold in Alex
"Ice Cold in Alex is the fourth in the quartet which makes up The British War Collection. It's the weak link - by no means a bad movie, it just doesn't compare to the other great films in the set."
- Anthony Clarke

REVIEW: The Dambusters
"The Dambusters is an ideal war movie - this is a feast of true valour, when we fought the war which had to be won."
- Anthony Clarke

REVIEW: The Cruel Sea
"The Cruel Sea is the classic account of the naval Battle of the Atlantic, fought in a hard, cold world where heroism was masked by bitter gales and sleet."
- Anthony Clarke

REVIEW: The Colditz Story
"Just how escape-proof was the German maximum-security prison of the Second World War, Colditz Castle? Nothing was escape-proof when set against the purpose and determination of these incorrigible Allied escapees..."
- Anthony Clarke


There are no special features to speak of, apart from a couple of theatrical trailers.

But these movies really do stand alone. No special features are needed. I would have bought the set alone just for The Dambusters, which I've long thought the greatest war movie ever made, even ahead of Where Eagles Dare and Zulu. Don't waste your money renting this; go out and buy this great set.

The preview discs came without packaging or slicks, so I can't comment on those. I do hope the Australian distributors use the UK box-set, which is in a slimline foldout pack, similar to the famous 'crucifix' packaging used in the UK for Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One.


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      And I quote...
    "The British War Collection brings together four tales of true heroism, when Britain and her allies fought the war which had to be won. The Dambusters alone makes this an indispensable part of any collection."
    - Anthony Clarke
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Panasonic A330
    • TV:
          Loewe Profil Plus 3272 68cm
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