This is a very well-intentioned set, two slip-cased DVDs containing a dozen installments of the series originally aired on the History Channel as Military Blunders. Each program runs 23 minutes and delves into various celebrated miscalculations of World War II. The programs themselves are entertaining enough, although the running times of the episodes/i>… See more details below
This is a very well-intentioned set, two slip-cased DVDs containing a dozen installments of the series originally aired on the History Channel as Military Blunders. Each program runs 23 minutes and delves into various celebrated miscalculations of World War II. The programs themselves are entertaining enough, although the running times of the episodes necessarily limit the depth of coverage of the events involved. A case in point is "Japan's Mistakes at Midway." One could spend hours going into the Battle of Midway, and it is impossible to get a full picture of the events at the center of the program in 20 minutes, although one does get a decent summary of the events. Interestingly, the narration attributes the complexity of the Japanese plans at Midway, which were their undoing, not to Admiral Yamamoto -- who proposed and initially planned the operation and who often gets the blame in other accounts -- but to his superiors. The overall superficiality is typical of the series, which the program overcomes only when it deals with a slightly narrower chain of incidents, such as "The Pilot Who Bombed London, detailing a single blunder during the Battle of Britain. This installment fits its subject perfectly, where other stories, such as the German disaster at Stalingrad, need a bigger canvas to cover the summer and winter actions involved. In terms of details, the series is fairly competent in presentation, although The World at War did a much better job on some of the same material. Also, the pacing precludes the mention of certain information, such as the fact that the link-up of Soviet forces at Stalingrad happened so fast that it couldn't be filmed; it had to be restaged for the cameras several days later. It was this kind of material that gave The World at War a lot of heart, as it pointed up other angles of the times and events in question. The quality of these DVDs is decent -- there are usual problems to be found in period combat footage, especially in contrast, but otherwise no special difficulties. There is virtually no synchronized sound apart from explosions, with narrator Stan Watt providing descriptive coverage of all visuals. The menu is straightforward and pops up automatically on start-up and at the end of each program.
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