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Reviews Written by
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom)

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U-571 [DVD] [2000]
U-571 [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Matthew McConaughey
Price: £2.66

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very inaccurate history - average film, 10 Dec. 2011
This review is from: U-571 [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
Anyone visiting Abu Simbel, built by Ramesses II to record the Battle of Kadesh between his Egyptian Empire and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II in 1274 BC, knows how important it has always been to record battles afterwards, no matter how inaccurate the writings. In his case, the hieroglyphs, tell a very different story from the reality, one of the earliest examples of political and majesterial spin.

"U-571" is such an enterprise in which the Battle of the Atlantic has a different history and the subsequent success of the Enigma codebreakers a new genesis. Whether it was the intention or not, that is the outcome.

I am not going to indulge in an outraged diatribe; there are enough of them about this DVD already.

Fortunately, I never go to the cinema for history lessons; fortunately, others do not either but, unfortunately, they often think they leave with one or, unknowingly, absorb the ideas without question.

Fairly good, exciting war film - very inaccurate history.

Mosquito Squadron [DVD] [1969]
Mosquito Squadron [DVD] [1969]
Dvd ~ David McCallum
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £4.07

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starring the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, 10 Dec. 2011
The real star of this average film is the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, a wooden, British multi-role combat aircraft, known affectionately as the "Mossie" and powered by Rolls-Royce Merlin engines which made it much faster than Nazi fighters. An unlikely concept, it proved its worth again and agin during WWII.

This is a very average film, a sort of down-market "Boy's Own" story, so typical of many at the time but the star shines through every time, with some exceptional original footage.

Bomber Harris [DVD] [1989]
Bomber Harris [DVD] [1989]
Dvd ~ John Thaw
Offered by dvdGOLD
Price: £12.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than "just" a war film, 10 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Bomber Harris [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
In 1992, eight years after his death, a monument to Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris (1892-1984) was erected in central London, forty-five years after the ending of WWII; these dates give a clear insight into how this, perhaps the most controversial allied officer of WWII, was partially shunned by the establishment after the war.

John Thaw is excellent portraying this complex and some say, difficult, character through the most challenging decisions of the war. Heavy bombing became possible after the development of large bombers but the difficulty of accurate bombing, often under intense fire, was highlighted by reports and reconnaissance. Still highly contentious, John Thaw creates the highly decorated officer well and also the man behind the uniform.


Enigma: The Battle For The Code (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
Enigma: The Battle For The Code (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's meticulous "Enigma", 10 Dec. 2011
Hugh Sebag-Montefiore is a punctilious and meticulous historian able to delve into the many recently opened sources (at time of publication) and build a fascinating and creditable narrative from the many thousands of references and pieces of information garnered from them. This is not a skill all writers have but it makes this lengthy book (600 pages) very readable.

It is a fascinating period which is only just coming to light with the opening of many previously secret records and which, as the film U-571 showed, is open to misinterpretation, theft and colusion. In the cold and dingy pre-fabs of Bletchley Park or the much more threatening cold of the North Atlantic, the battle for the code raged.

For anyone interested in this vitally fundamental element in winning the last war, this is essential reading. I read it for more information on Alan Turing and gained so much more too.


Alan Turing: The Enigma
Alan Turing: The Enigma
by Andrew Hodges
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alan Turing - a great biography, 10 Dec. 2011
I cannot recall my first meeting with Alan Turing (in books) but I have been fascinated since, on two levels; firstly, Bletchley Park was so shrouded in secrecy (still seems to be to some extent) that many people do not fully appreciate the role its people played in bringing the war to an early end, with fewer lives lost. Secondly, Alan Turing's genius is still not understood by many of us who benefit from it in many ways, e.g. he pioneered computing and helped to ensure our lives are lived in our current freedom.

Excessive praise? I think not.

Having worked with gifted people at one time, I came to understand many of their differences and the difficulty some people had with them and their strange expectations of their normality while being gifted. Alan Turing suffered in similar ways. There is a clear logic in cycling with a gas mask on while suffering from and trying to prevent hay fever - after all, he was trying to crack a complex code. In a large organisation, I should imagine tea mugs annoyingly went missing all the time, especially when time wasted looking for one was lives lost. Solution? Simple - chain it to the radiator.

This is an excellent biography which sheds a great deal of light on Turing's unusual character and some of the technical issues involved in code-breaking and early computer building, both of which the author explains well.

The post-war social complexities are dealt with too, making this a fascinating book. In some ways, it helps to explain Gordon Brown's partial apology many years later; when one considers the services for which knighthoods are awarded now, it leaves one seriously wondering about some post-war decisions.

Young Winston: Special Edition [1972]
Young Winston: Special Edition [1972]
Dvd ~ Simon Ward

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a great, "Boy's Own" film, 10 Dec. 2011
"Young Winston", directed by Richard Attenborough in 1972 is now on DVD in this "Special Edition" but, as has been pointed out numerous times in other reviews is not as special as we would wish as one or two scenes have been inexplicably cut from the full length film. I wonder if Richard Attenborough is aware of this. I am not certain whether any DVD has these scenes, e.g. the dream sequence. (For those who want just a flavour of it, Michael Dobbs includes a similar written version in his book "Churchill's Triumph".

Simon Ward, Robert Shaw and Anne Bancroft shine with Attenborough's direction and he shows his skill across a wider range of scenes of different atmospheres, tempoes and settings. This is real "Boy's Own" stuff, capturing in vivid, dynamic and exciting colour the early life of a great man and some of the driving forces behind his bulldog spirit.

An exciting film in its own right and, though not entirely accurate, a good insight into the early times of Winston Churchill.

Churchill's Bodyguard [DVD]
Churchill's Bodyguard [DVD]
Price: £11.00

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating series of DVDs, 10 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Churchill's Bodyguard [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this series on television when it was first shown and before having a Sky box which cleverly records a series without my having to remember; I missed a few and bought this to catch up.

Prior to the series, I had never thought much about what is now obvious - Churchill's need for a bodyguard. Always a contentious figure, he made many enemies. These four DVDs covering their nineteen years together, narrated by Robert Powell, is the story of Walter Thompson's time with Churchill and the times they lived through, sometimes only just, thanks to Thompson. It is from his daily diary which Churchill agreed could be published and the DVDs are made up of mostly original footage.

For anyone with an interest in WWII or Churchill, this is essential viewing. Follow this with a visit to the Cabinet War Rooms to create a real impression of the times and conditions in which they lived in Whitehall to gain a full insight into the distances they travelled, one of the excellent displays.

No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Bob Vokey wedge, 9 Dec. 2011
Since this is an ex-demo Vokey wedge, it is impossible to know the condition of the face but, if the picture is the club itself, it looks good. If this is the club, it is the fifty-degree, eight-degree bounce which is an excellent pitching wedge and ideal for long fairway shots and chipping but not so easy out of bunkers because of the limited bounce.

These are great wedges and the bronze colouring makes them look stunning, as well as restricting glare on sunny days. Designed to sit well at address when square as well as open or closed, they are the classic wedge shape designed by a great club-designer who really knows his business. Bob Vokey designs and produces wedges for the most discerning of golfers, e.g. Phil Mickleson.

Like many modern wedges, this has a spin-milled face; put simply, the soft steel is milled to roughen the face with an attractive design (all within the R&A's rules) which heightens the spin control.

For a used club and what looks like the older design, this seems a little over-priced, e.g. I have recently seen them for fifty-five pounds.

scotty cameron studio select newport 2
scotty cameron studio select newport 2

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great putter but not the Tiger Woods' version, 9 Dec. 2011
This is an excellent putter but it is not the putter a lot of people think it is, i.e. Tiger Woods' putter. His is the Scotty Cameron by Titleist Studio Stainless Newport 2 putter; "Stainless" - a subtle difference but an important one.

I am very loyal to putters (only two prior to my current Scotty Cameron). I found Scotty Cameron putters by accident in a golf shop and have had one like this ever since, usually used to great effect. I have also bought the Tiger Woods' version as a possible investmen for the future.

These are top quality putters made along the Ping Anser style but without the groove behind the head. However, it seems over-priced currently and the same putter (which comes with a headcover and pitch mark repair tool) can be found for as little as £180.00 new, or much cheaper as good second-hand if readers look carefully.

Putters need to be seen and tried. This one will not disappoint but shop around.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BOb Vokey knows what he is doing., 9 Dec. 2011
Titleist and Vokey make a formidable combination, one which is seen regularly in the bags of many top professionals. Bob Vokey has been designing and supplying wedges to the top players for many years and knows the business as well as anyone, e.g. he supplied Phil Mickleson's wedges and he is an expert too.

This advertisement is a lttle confusing; the club in the picture is fifty-eight degrees with eight degress of bounce but it is advertised as fifty with eight. This review is of the fifty-eight degree with eight bounce but Titleist/Vokey have a huge range, one for everyone.

I have always gone for fifty-eight rather than sixty as it has always seemed more flexible. The fifty-eight seems to lie more easily in the normal square position but allow more variety of head position more easily. Opening the blade to bring more bounce into play still presents a good-looking, comfortable position, as does closing it for long running chips.

The grooves are the new grooves but the really innovative design feature is the spin-milling. Put simply, the whole face has been milled to leave a rougher surface, all within the R&A's regulations; this rougher surface applies a lot of backspin to the ball, allowing more precision around the greens. For anyone who wants the ful details, go to the Titleist or Wedgeworks websites.

Ultimately, though, for the player, all clubs need to look good at the end of the shaft and these are well-designed; this is the old design and, at this price, may be a little expensive. It is possible to pick them up in pro shops trying to shift the old stock, e.g. I saw them for £50.00 this week. Keep your eyes open and barter.

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