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Slaughterhouse Five [DVD]

36 customer reviews

Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Sacks, Ron Leibman, Eugene Roche, Sharon Gans, Valerie Perrine
  • Directors: George Roy Hill
  • Producers: Paul Monash
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 3 April 2006
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EMI5NS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,075 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Adaptation of the cult novel by Kurt Vonnegut. Billy Pilgrim (Michael Sacks) is a young soldier in the Second World War who is captured by the Germans and sent to a POW camp. On route, he witnesses the firebombing of Dresden, an event that unhinges his fixity in time and causes him to live his life simultaneously as a POW, an optician in present day America, and as an elderly abducted resident of an alien zoo on the planet Tralfamadore.

From Amazon.co.uk

Billy Pilgrim (Michael Sacks) has a problem with time: he keeps jumping about in his own life, principally between three key scenes. The "present" is a kind of glowing suburban bliss involving a dutiful wife, large house, and presidency of the local Lions; the "past" is being a prisoner of World War II and experiencing the firebombing of Dresden from the wrong side; the "future" takes place in a glass dome on the planet Tralfamadore, to which Billy has been mysteriously spirited along with the woman of his fantasies (Montana Wildhack, played by Valerie Perrine). It isn't meant to make too much sense, since the point is to represent a man (and a century) that has witnessed things too unbearable for a wholly sane person to make sense of. In fact author Kurt Vonnegut's anguished cry on the insanity of war is one of those completely unfilmable books, so director George Roy Hill gets points even for trying. The whole package is thought provoking in a wholly Vonnegutian way. All this, and Glenn Gould playing Bach as well. --Richard Farr

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Michael Crane on 18 Jun. 2004
Format: DVD
After seeing the mess that was "Breakfast of Champions," I was really skeptical about how the film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's masterpiece, "Slaughterhouse-Five" would turn out. It isn't the easiest book to translate into film, after all. So, I think it's fair to say that I had my doubts at first. I finally found this available on DVD, and to my surprise it was a faithful and well done adaptation. While it may not be absolutely flawless or spectacular, it does its best to stay true to the source.
Billy Pilgrim is unstuck in time. This meaning that he relives certain parts of his life in random order. There is no beginning, no middle, and no ending for Pilgrim. His life plays in scrambled portions in a continuous loop. This is something that Billy has no control over and he never knows what part of his life he will revisit next. Sometimes he relives the time he was in WW2 and was a P.O.W. in Dresden. Other times it's to his life shortly after the war where he is married and has children. Then there are times when he relives the moment where he is taken to the planet Tralfamadore. Filled with humorous and heartbreaking moments, Billy is forced to live his life like a scrambled puzzle that is never-ending.
Directed by George Roy Hill, this is a pretty powerful and smart adaptation of a true literary classic, which isn't the easiest task in the world. While it's not word-for-word and things are changed around, the film does a more than decent job of staying true to the book for the most part. The only thing that bugs me a little about it is that the film plays more like a drama rather than the satire that is the book. Still, I have to applaud the director for doing a very good job of bringing to life a marvelous book.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Kay on 21 Oct. 2006
Format: DVD
The past, the present and the future: memories, experience and hopes. This is what we create by living. To an unknown extent it is our actual creation, for 'reality' is a very human thing. Billy Pilgrim has been traumatised by war, as has his fellow soldiers. His lesson is: try to remember the good things, try and forget the bad things. It might not be a noble philosophy, but in a world where he does not easily fit, whether it is a concentration camp or a middle class blancmange dream home, it is valuable information to get him by. Slaughterhouse Five is a very rare thing, a film that tries to make sense both out of the atrocity of war and the hysterical blandness of conformity. It never falters. It is convincing from first scene to last, spun on the fulcrum of Michael Sacks' minimalist acting style, which veers from puzzled incomprehension to calm acceptance, while everybody around him goes their mad, mad way. 'Unstuck in time' means chronological time is abandoned for thematic paralleled jump cuts. The film is not experimental however. Its technique is more subtle. The temporal sequence is disrupted not by the director showing off his technique, which is the usual thing, but by the character's mind. Billy is in shock, and must heal himself. What an eerie species we must appear to extraterrestials. Bach has the last word (on the soundtrack, as he does in Solaris as well).
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By fkoepping77 on 23 Jan. 2009
Format: DVD
I read the Time Out fim review, and am glad I took no notice of it - I thought it was absolutely beautifully done. I've not read the book so don't have any view on how they've interpreted Vonnegut's original idea, but on its own it is both a hugely touching and tragic story, and interspersed with enough surreal and amusing moments to heighten the awful reality of the destruction of Dresden.
Don't be misled by the title: it is primarily a war drama, with a bit of random science fiction thrown in - doesn't sound promising, but I'm glad I gave it a go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zaroff on 29 Jun. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of the most striking aspects of the film of the glorious book, is the editing. The linear flow of a standardised or generic story telling is not so much cut up, rather it is crisply cutting to apparently random yet related periods of the characters life, adhered together as we do our own memories in our mental scrapbook. The flitting back and forth of Billy Pilgrim, the main character, is the stuff of sci-fi, yet the core element of the story & thus, his life, is clearly the horrendous bombing of Dresden & the futility of war etc. And all the impacting moments that are coloured by simply being present at any point in time at historical or life-changing periods...much that tastes of sci-fi, but do not come to the film expecting a clearly defined or over-stated sci-fi tableaux.

Yet thanks to the Tralfamadore aspect of the story, we have the delightful distance of observing the entire life unfold in random intervals, like solid memories coming to the fore unbidden by Billy Pilgrim. As with much of Vonnegut's original thinking, schizophrenia is alluded to and psychiatry is often the scientific way to explain away all this damaging lack of clarity the character has. Yet, Billy Pilgrim having insight from being 'unstuck' in time, has a zen ambience about him. Learnt from the Tralfamadorians, time is, just simply Is. Happened already, going to happen, is happening. And as such, is the perfect counter-weight to the ego-centric human drive for war and cruelty. The sonorous use of Glenn Gould as a soundtrack, of Bach, takes the satirical highly cultured irony to it's furthest point. War is not just Hell, it is downright demeaning and lacking in any sense of insight into Time. War is an attempt to make a mark on History, which simply put, is a vague notion of events in linear order...
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