Customer Reviews


14 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The savagery, inhumanity & the human drama of the Pacific campaign revealed
This DVD commences with the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. Although not strictly "Pacific" and not strictly WW2, it provides a preview of the disdain for which the Japanese soldier regarded the life of their enemies. This psychology permitted the Japanese to perform some of the most heinous crimes against humanity without seemingly a second thought.

There...
Published on 10 Dec 2002 by DF McCleland

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Personal viewpoints.
This shows how documentaries have become centred on people rather than the events in the last few years.This is a tendency which appeals to some, certainly has its value, but does not enlighten you as to how a conflict developed.
The unbeatable documentary series are the BBC's "The Great War" and Thames TV's "The World at War" which mix a relation of...
Published 13 months ago by Stephen Cryan


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The savagery, inhumanity & the human drama of the Pacific campaign revealed, 10 Dec 2002
By 
DF McCleland (Johannesburg, South Africa) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hell In The Pacific [DVD] (DVD)
This DVD commences with the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. Although not strictly "Pacific" and not strictly WW2, it provides a preview of the disdain for which the Japanese soldier regarded the life of their enemies. This psychology permitted the Japanese to perform some of the most heinous crimes against humanity without seemingly a second thought.

There are many ways in which military history can be expressed: the strategic, the tactical, the weaponry or the human interest. This series has adopted the latter approach. Despite its potential shortcomings, this DVD overcomes them with flying colours. The sequential series of human tragedies provides the story whilst broadly following the sequence of events in the war.

There is no attempt to comprehensively cover the Pacific War but rather this DVD provides an eclectic mix of events to portray the drama. These include a former Japanese soldier who as part of his catharsis regularly visits China to apologise for his & his comrades' former behaviour. Also shown is a surviving Australian nurse whose friends were made to swim in the sea & then wantonly machine-gunned to death.

As one participant proclaims, "Atrocious behaviour begets atrocious behaviour". Despite not sinking to the level of the barbaric behaviour of their enemies, the actions of the Japanese certainly changed the psychology of the Allied soldiers who resorted to the tactic of not accepting or allowing the Japanese soldier to surrender even if they had wished to do so.

The level of the Japanese indoctrination is stunningly revealed in a little known incident at an Australian POW camp for Japanese soldiers. In spite of their capture only being the result of happenstance such as injury or other incapacity, they considered it totally dishonorable for having surrendered. This resulted in the decision where these prisoners elected to commit suicide en masse. Such was the psychosis that the majority followed their conscience. What is even more enlightening is that the eventual survivors, usually due to botched attempts, still, 60 years later, feel like traitors & dishonorable for surviving the war.

The sheer inhumanity is starkly revealed when two Scottish survivors of the Kwai River railway building contingent recount their shocking tale whilst touring the previous construction site. The callous & brutal treatment by their Japanese masters was in many ways a reflection on how the average Japanese soldier was himself treated. Life was cheap & surviving to the next day, the goal in one's life. This inevitable corrosive effect influenced the Allied prisoners to themselves murder traitors, informants & spies in their midst by not even using the expedient of a kangaroo court but by means of silent & sudden death.

With hindsight it is easy to be derisive about the American decision to use the nuclear bomb on Japan in 1945. When viewed against the penultimate act in the war, viz the capture of Okinawa, the decision can only be regarded as a sane & justifiable act. As the Japanese had already proved to the Americans during their other island hopping campaigns, the only way in which the Japanese soldier could be defeated was to literally kill him. With +-130,000 troops on Okinawa, that meant that even at a kill ratio of 10 to 1, 13000 American troops would die. What this sanuigidly implied was a huge loss of American lives if Japan itself was to be invaded. In Europe Eisenhower had also baulked at a similar juncture & allowed the Russians to be the ones to capture Berlin despite the Americans having an open road of 80 kms in front of them.

The horrors often suppressed for a lifetime come flooding back to the interviewees & invariably overwhelm them. All will go to the grave still tormented by the demons. With a rapidly dwindling base of survivors, a documentary in this format will not be able to be made within the next 10 years.

For all those who glamorize war, especially the politicians, an enduring truth always intercedes: war is brutal, nasty & ultimately ineffectual in solving problems. If for no other reason than to disabuse oneself of such glamorisation, this DVD must be watched. Documentaries on the strategies, the heroes & the elegant weaponry of war tend to glorify wars whereas this DVD sticks in one's craw & it cannot be dislodged.

Maybe the enduring fascination with war is akin to watching motor racing. The ultimate draw card is not the technology, technical details & strategy but whether or not death will occur during the race.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Insiders View of the Horrors of War., 7 Aug 2005
By 
Stargazer (St.Kilda, Victoria Australia) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hell In The Pacific [DVD] (DVD)
The biggest plus about this fantastic docmentary is that it gives one an in sight into the thinking of those on the "other side" in this case, the Japanese. When Japan marched through Singapore,Malaya (as it was then) Thailand,Borneo, the Phillipines and then New Guinea, they left great misery and destruction in their wake.
It's refreshing to see a WW2 documentary that is balanced, accurate and doesn't tell the world the Americans were the only combatants who stood up to the enemy.
The massacre of nurses told by Matron Vivienne Bullwinkle is one tale I've heard many times, but it doesn't lose it's horror with the repeat tellings. A group of Australian nurses in Singapore were ordered by their Japanese captives into the sea and subsequently machine gunned down. Immediately prior to this
other medical staff were marched off around a bend out of sight.
The terrified nurses didn't need to ask what happened to their comrades as the returning Japanese soldiers were wiping the blood from their bayonets.
This telling of what took place in Asia during the Japanese occupation is told with typical understated matter of factness by British, Australian,American and other survivors.
The coverage of the war in New Guinea seemed particlarly poignant and accurate to me.
Even with all this human suffering, the Burma Railway, starvation, executions, the old Japanese men explaining the war from their point of view makes one realise they too suffered and died in their millions (as in Nagasaki and Hiroshima) and that we should ALL remember these lessons to ensure we don't allow it to happen again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece among documentraies, 23 May 2007
This review is from: Hell In The Pacific [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the best war documentaries I have ever seen. I have not just seen it once, but many times!

This documentary is balanced and all sides of the conflict are heard. Allied soldiers and POW:s, Chinese and asian civilians, Japanese soldiers and guards of POW-camps, as well as Japanese civilians. All sides get to tell their story and the viewer gets to draw his own conclusion. This is as far away from propaganda as you can get.

Most of the documentary is interviews with veterans from all sides including civilians. The subjects are chosen with care, to have people that can tell their story in a factual and accurate maner with a minimum of emotions (although in some cases this is impossible). Newsreels and propaganda films are shown and commented upon accurately, even not so convenient facts are shown. For instance one allied propagandafilm is shown were an allied plane attack surviving japanese sailors in a life boat and the narrator rejoyces and cheers when the target is struck. Coments about how the war had become so brutalised that bragging off with war crimes was considered legitimate.

Excellent production and presentation with traditional British profesionalism and care for even the smallest details makes this DVD an absolute "must see" for anyone interested in the war in asia.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely well researched documentary., 7 Feb 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hell In The Pacific [DVD] (DVD)
There is much narrated and shown in this 4 part series that will be new and fresh to WW2 enthusiasts of the Pacific theatre of war.

I am a huge fan of the great HBO series The Pacific and it was a pleasure to see Eugene Sledge(Sledgehammer)speaking personally about his experiences although all too briefly.

Very informative even from the Japanese perspective.The photo on the dvd jacket tells all:its not a stylized image of a handsome,heroic soldier but of a man in fear and under stress,much like it really was for all the participants.

Highly recommended viewing which comes close to understanding the reasons for the uterly barbaric conduct by all armies involved.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the glossy HBO production - Get this!, 5 Aug 2010
By 
M. Saxby (Fleet, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hell In The Pacific [DVD] (DVD)
If you were about to buy the glossy HBO production, "The Pacific" stay your mouse a moment.

This is a 4 part documentary that tells the true story of the Japanese aggression and eventual defeat from 1937 to 1945 from all sides.

Eugene Stone (from "The Pacific") makes an appearance amongst the British, America, Australian, Dutch, Chinese, Fillipino and Japanese talking heads and the stories they tell are horrific in the extreme.

If you've not seen this series, you REALLY should, whether Military history is of interest to you or not. It's the story of survival, man's inhumanity to man (and what can produce it), brutality and how hope drives people on.

By all means, buy the HBO box set, but for God's sake buy this too (it's next to free!) as it's 100 times better and more moving.

I rarely grant 5 star ratings, but this is totally deserving of one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it was hell in the Paciffic, 30 Oct 2013
By 
the bench (earls colne essex uk) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hell In The Pacific [DVD] (DVD)
this is a very good documentary on the fighting in the Paciffic theatre during world war two,
from the British in Burma, India and the horrific POW camps, the American forces such as the
marines and the terrible fighting for the tiny islands, notable contribution from Eugene Sledge,
author of "the old breed" one of the best accounts of fighting by the U.S. Marine Corps.
also featured are the naval battles, kamakazies, and the dropping of the atom bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This was on channel four years ago and well worth getting there are lots of interviews from
people who were there and plenty of footage of the conflict which was awful
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `Hell in the Pacific`, a must see for anyone interested in World War 2, 30 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hell In The Pacific [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent DVD, deeply moving and with sometimes graphic descriptions of what these people went through, even now they get very emotional as the menories come back to them. The music really fits the sombre mood of the documentary. This film along with the classic World at War are in my opimiom the best documentarys on the war, sadly these can never be repeated as we are losing more of the survivors every day........Martin
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell in the Pacific, 22 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hell In The Pacific [DVD] (DVD)
A different perspective because some don't realize the British, Australians and New Zealanders were part of that fight too. I saw this on the History channel and found it to be am awesome story. There are plenty of Americans, Japanese and others who were there and tell there side of the story. Eugene Sledge being my inspiration.
I searched and searched and found it on Amazon.uk. I had to change the region code on my computer's DVD player to watch it, but that's how good this documentary is.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hidden Gem, 23 Feb 2012
By 
M. Austin (Southern California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hell In The Pacific [DVD] (DVD)
Having read several books covering a wide range of modern historiography on the Pacific war as well as numerous memoirs and biographies, several films and documentaries, this stands head and shoulders above the crowd. The gamut of participants who agreed to participate in this production is astounding. The list includes (but is not limited to)

- A host of Allied soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen (including some big names like Eugene Sledge, Paul Tibbits, etc)...but not just Americans; we see British, Scottish, Australians, etc.
- IJA/IJN soldiers and pilots
- various civilians who were brutalized by the Japanese in China and the Philippines
- Allied POWs who were forced to endure the hell ships, prison camps, and slave labor camps
- Various former Japanese diplomats and officials
- Japanese civilians and war workers (including a woman who was only 1600 yards from ground zero at Hiroshima and survived)
- various historians such as Studs Terkel

The list goes on and on.

The production value was great with real footage of almost everything being portrayed (as opposed to cookie-cutter stock footage the likes of which you see on History channel all too frequently, when they're not too busy gagging us with some new show about Aliens or the Apocalypse). This is such a rare gem; the level of precision in the research and presentation is simply remarkable.

I'm disappointed in a couple things.

1) there is no region 1 version...I had to buy it from the UK and subsequently rip it to a burned DVD in order to remove the region encoding.

2) while the original documentary was presented on television in 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio (a rarity for its time in 2001 I would imagine) the DVD is presented in standard 4:3. The unfortunate result is that the original footage suffers. The WWII 16mm film footage was originally cropped at the top and bottom to allow for widescreen presentation. Later, for the DVD version, instead of re-editing to allow the footage to once again stand again on its own in 4:3, they simply lopped off the sides of the 16:9 presentation. This unfortunately leaves the footage in a somewhat poor state, having been cropped at the top, bottom, left, and right.

I would absolutely love a remastering of this series onto blu-ray, even if the original source was widescreen video and not film (which I'm not sure of) it would still be orders of magnitude better than what's presented here in this, now ten-year-old rendering on DVD. Given the recent surge in Pacific historiography in the last several years, the time is right. Just have to get someone to listen and re-release it! If not blu-ray, at least a widescreen DVD edition that mirrors what was broadcast back in 2001, and what is available for viewing on Channel4's 4OD. I compared the two presentations, and if only the 4OD presentation were in higher resolution, it would best the DVD edition.

Having said all that, this is a must-watch. You come away humbled, and with a somber, deep-seated appreciation for what these men went through. It puts other recent productions such as "WWII in HD" to shame. You'll not be sorry.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 7 Sep 2010
By 
M. J. Palmer "panzer" (Queensland, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hell In The Pacific [DVD] (DVD)
I purchased this film by Carlton a few years ago after seeing it on the ABC. It is quite simply one of the best, if not the best, documentaries on the pacific war ever produced. Harrowing, brutal, moving, and informative, it covers many aspects of the incomparably ferocious war against the Japanese through interviews with combatants, POWs and civilians of many nationalities and from both sides. These unforgettable testimonies are combined with incredible (and naturally, in places, quite graphic) footage, some of which has not been seen previously, from places - to quote from the blurb on the back - that "looked like paradise, but turned out to be hell."

The BBC's Horror In The East, PBS's American Experience: Victory In The Pacific, and the World At War episodes dealing with the pacific are also highly recommended, but this film is an absolute must see.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xaa5a67c8)

This product

Hell In The Pacific [DVD]
Hell In The Pacific [DVD] by Jonathan Lewis (DVD - 2001)
5.08
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews