A R1 bargain featuring two of the greatest "documentary" films ever made from a 28 year old who was ahead of his time.
Utilising the docu-drama technique prevalent today,Watkins made Culloden(1964)a biting critique of the last battle fought on British soil based on John Prebble's classic book.The treatment is dazzling,historical balance and judgement seem well presented and the battle scenes for a low budget enterprise are well done and stylishly contemporary.
War Game(1965)notoriously banned for over 20 years after the Labour Government of the time suppressed it as being against the public interest with the aid of its producers- the spineless BBC.That said, I found it mesmerising and chilling in equal measure over 40 years later so god knows what the population of the day in the grip of the cold war would of made of seeing the probable fallout from a nuclear attack in their living room.
In 49 minutes,Watkins achieves more than dramas such as Threads and The Day After to name but two by detailing established facts and govt planning. By holding them up to the mirror of public scrutiny we find them fatally flawed- were the public really going to believe that hiding under a table would reduce their exposure to radiation.
Vital and brilliant work from a true genius who never recovered from the War Game debacle.A shame because Broomfield, Moore et al are not in his league.