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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mann on a mission
Anthony Mann's last completed film, The Heroes of Telemark doesn't have the kind of reputation most of his later films enjoy, yet it's still a cut above most men-on-a-mission war movies of its day. Although it creates two star parts for Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, his spectacular account of the Norwegian resistance's attempts to destroy the Nazis supply of heavy...
Published on 24 Jan 2009 by Trevor Willsmer

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars True life story that deserves better
In 1944 Norway which is under Nazi occupation, a group of resistance fighters attempt to sabotage a factory which is producing heavy water which will be used in the development for the first atomic bomb. Based on a true story, Anthony Mann directs this WWII diverting action adventure but with none of the distinction that earmarks his best films. A few years later, this...
Published on 22 Jan 2011 by The CinemaScope Cat


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mann on a mission, 24 Jan 2009
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Heroes of Telemark [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
Anthony Mann's last completed film, The Heroes of Telemark doesn't have the kind of reputation most of his later films enjoy, yet it's still a cut above most men-on-a-mission war movies of its day. Although it creates two star parts for Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, his spectacular account of the Norwegian resistance's attempts to destroy the Nazis supply of heavy water doesn't deviate quite as much from the facts as most `true' WW2 stories and is often more interested in the moral implications of how many innocent civilians you can `allow' to be killed to prevent the Nazis from getting their hands on the atom bomb than it is in the big explosions. Uncredited script doctor Harold Pinter's rewrite also adds some sexual politics as reluctantly recruited playboy scientist Douglas and boy scout resistance leader Harris (in one of his few 60s films where he's not wearing more eyeliner than the leading lady) lock antlers over Ulla Jacobsson, but for the most part it's a well-crafted, well-cast above-average genre film, with Mann's striking composition and use of landscape (particularly his beloved high country) very much to the fore in the lengthy 18-minute raid on the heavy water factor, played almost entirely in silence.

The lead casting is rather curious if you're familiar with Mann's career - Kirk Douglas had him replaced on Spartacus and felt he owed the director a picture while Richard Harris had originally been cast as Commodus in The Fall of the Roman Empire only to pull out of the picture - but they work well together, and there's a strong supporting cast: Michael Redgrave, Eric Porter hamming away shamelessly as the ruthless Nazi overseeing the project while Anton Diffring carries out his orders as usual, Roy Dotrice as a collaborator (ironically his skiing double in the film is one of the real Norwegian saboteurs!) and a host of familiar faces like Maurice Denham, Geoffrey Keen, Mervyn Johns and George Murcell. Robert Krasker's cinematography comes into its own in its original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, but unfortunately it's not well represented on the film's UK DVD releases, which overdo the edge enhancement to such a degree that some characters often have halos whenever they're in long shot (the Norwegian DVD release has better definition but also has slightly faded color and some print damage while Columbia's Region 1 NTSC disc has the best picture quality, if a little too dark in places, but no extras).

On the plus side, Carlton's special edition PAL UK DVD comes with a wealth of extra features (some 64 minutes worth), including vintage black and white location reports and a slew of lengthy on-location interviews with Anthony Mann, Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris, Michael Redgrave & Ulla Jacobsson as well as the original theatrical trailer.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars True life story that deserves better, 22 Jan 2011
By 
The CinemaScope Cat - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heroes of Telemark [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
In 1944 Norway which is under Nazi occupation, a group of resistance fighters attempt to sabotage a factory which is producing heavy water which will be used in the development for the first atomic bomb. Based on a true story, Anthony Mann directs this WWII diverting action adventure but with none of the distinction that earmarks his best films. A few years later, this kind of thing would be done better with WHERE EAGLES DARE. It's kind of hard to accept Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris as Norwegians, not surprisingly the Swedish Ulla Jacobsson (Bergman's SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT) is more convincing. The snowbound landscapes are handsomely photographed in wide screen Panavision courtesy of Robert Krasker (EL CID) and Malcolm Arnold keeps things stirred up with his regal score and the film's last ten minutes are filled with genuine nail biting tension but mostly it feels generic, lacking a strong sense of focus. With Michael Redgrave, Anton Diffring, Barry Jones, Geoffrey Keen, Mervyn Johns and Faith Brook.

The Carlton DVD from Great Britain is in its proper wide screen ratio (2.35) but it's a rather soft transfer, lacking clarity and sharpness.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great "good ol' war" action movie!, 25 Dec 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Heroes of Telemark [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
The title says it all! beeing a native Norwegian this title of course has a special feel to it for me. But for anyone who enjoys watching a good, realistic war movie, this is well worth your time. The factory at which it was filmed is still in operation in Rjukan, Telemark. It is also the place of the orginal action, no fake set here...
:)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall a very good movie., 29 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Heroes of Telemark [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
The perfect gift for all movie enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
The 1960s brought us some excellent WWII flicks with incredible cinematography and great acting--particularly THE GUNS OF NAVARONE and WHERE EAGLES DARE. In this same vein we have THE HEROES OF TELEMARK. It's not quite as big in scope as these other two films, but it is still an excellent film.

Kirk Douglas is a Norwegian man living out his life in the UK during the war, as his native Norway was overrun by Nazis. However, he is convinced to return. His expertise is needed to infiltrate a factory to see if it is indeed manufacturing Deuterium ("heavy water"--used in the production of atomic weapons). If so, he's under orders to destroy it or pinpoint it for bombing raids. What makes this tough is that its surrounded by a town full of innocent people, so the stakes are high.

The acting and action are excellent. What I really liked was the ending. While VERY depressing, it just goes to illustrate the high cost of war.

PS--After watching this movie, I discovered that much of it was true--including the sad but necessary scene involving the ferry. Such a raid really did occur in Norway in order to destroy their deuterium production.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heroes of telemark, 3 Oct 2009
By 
Aidan Mcatamney (kilrea co.derry,n.ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Heroes of Telemark [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
this is a fantastic film based on a true story. i first saw it at my local cinema when i was only 9 years of age back in 1973 at a sat matinee. i thought it was great. the one thing i love about this dvd is the interviews with all the leading actors on location in norway where the film was made. it also shows you some of the actual scenes being filmed. i found all this very interesting. highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mann on a mission, 19 Sep 2011
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Anthony Mann's last completed film, The Heroes of Telemark doesn't have the kind of reputation most of his later films enjoy, yet it's still a cut above most men-on-a-mission war movies of its day. Although it creates two star parts for Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, his spectacular account of the Norwegian resistance's attempts to destroy the Nazis supply of heavy water doesn't deviate quite as much from the facts as most `true' WW2 stories and is often more interested in the moral implications of how many innocent civilians you can `allow' to be killed to prevent the Nazis from getting their hands on the atom bomb than it is in the big explosions. Uncredited script doctor Harold Pinter's rewrite also adds some sexual politics as reluctantly recruited playboy scientist Douglas and boy scout resistance leader Harris (in one of his few 60s films where he's not wearing more eyeliner than the leading lady) lock antlers over Ulla Jacobsson, but for the most part it's a well-crafted, well-cast above-average genre film, with Mann's striking composition and use of landscape (particularly his beloved high country) very much to the fore in the lengthy 18-minute raid on the heavy water factor, played almost entirely in silence.

The lead casting is rather curious if you're familiar with Mann's career - Kirk Douglas had him replaced on Spartacus and felt he owed the director a picture while Richard Harris had originally been cast as Commodus in The Fall of the Roman Empire only to pull out of the picture - but they work well together, and there's a strong supporting cast: Michael Redgrave, Eric Porter hamming away shamelessly as the ruthless Nazi overseeing the project while Anton Diffring carries out his orders as usual, Roy Dotrice as a collaborator (ironically his skiing double in the film is one of the real Norwegian saboteurs!) and a host of familiar faces like Maurice Denham, Geoffrey Keen, Mervyn Johns and George Murcell. Robert Krasker's cinematography comes into its own in its original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio.

Unfortunately the film has certainly suffered some poor transfers in the past. Aside from the dire Asian bootlegs, the UK DVD had an unsatisfying amount of edge enhancement while the Swedish DVD went a bit in the other direction, at times being too soft and lacking in depth. The first two reels or so of Columbia's new Region 1 DVD don't bode well, with the same kind of edge enhancement problems that plagued the UK release resulting in ghosting of tree branches while the picture is rather dull and murky (the opening scene seems to have been regraded to take place at night when most prints have it as early morning). But thankfully once that's out of the way the quality improves immensely, with a clearer print, decent detail and few edge enhancement problems although the picture is still a bit on the murky side in the night scenes. The only thing holding it back from a higher recommendation is the complete absence of extras - this is so barebones there's not even a trailer whereas the UK special edition included that and 64 minutes of vintage black and white footage and interviews with Mann and his cast and crew - but it's still by far the best DVD transfer to date.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars heroes of telemark, 10 Jun 2010
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This review is from: The Heroes of Telemark [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
A good film about how the Norwegian resistance scuppered the Nazi attempt to produce heavy water at a plant in Norway and stopped them making the atom bomb. The film stars Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris and is based on the actual events in ww2.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch it but not for the history, 1 Dec 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heroes of Telemark [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
This is a film about one of the most remarkable raid of the war, a raid to prevent the Nazis from developing enough heavy water (deuterium oxide) to produce nuclear weapons. If Nazi nuclear weapons had been developed, the outcome of the war would have been very different. Operation Gunnerside, a raid in the factory, succeeded but did not stop the production.

The factory was build into the cliffs to prevent air raids and another method was necessary. A small group of Norwegians finished the job.

This film, apart from some of its Hollywoodish elements, captures the spirit of the time, the challenges, dangers and the outstanding bravery of those involved. It is an exciting film. (For those interested, read Ray Mears' "The Real Heroes of the Telemark", a factual account of the raid.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Battle for Heavy Water., 21 Mar 2014
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heroes of Telemark [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
The Heroes of Telemark is directed by Anthony Mann and written by Ben Barzman and Ivan Moffat. It stars Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris, Ulla Jacobsson, Michael Redgrave and David Weston. Music is by Malcolm Arnold and cinematography by Robert Krasker.

1942, Nazi occupied Norway, and the Germans are making great strides with their plans for atomic weaponry. It's down to a band of resistance fighters and a scientist to blow up the German heavy water factory located up in the Telemark mountains.

Perhaps it's stating the obvious considering Mann and Krasker's reputations as quality visualists, but The Heroes of Telemark is a splendid looking war movie. It's solidly performed by the cast, the story, which is based on a real and crucial incident in the war, is gripping, while some of the tech flourishes shown by Mann for the more pacy scenes are impressive.

Problems only really arise when the film resorts to standard character interactions, shifting focus away from the film's strength, that of the mission, the planning and execution of such. The script doesn't really give the characters much to work with, so in truth it's hard to really care about them in context to their own personal trials and tribulations.

However, such is the visual treats and excellent action choreography on show, it still rounds out as a wholesome meaty war epic well worth investing time with. 7/10
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good film, great jumpers, 1 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Heroes of Telemark [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
This is another of those films that crops up regularly on TV and I settle down to like a comfortable slipper.

It is a bit of a surprise to remember Anthony Mann directed this, it certainly lacks the strong bond with the leading man that was evidenced with Jimmy Stewart, but the cast is a strong one full of dependables in supporting parts and the stars are more than competent. As so often the plus on the DVD is the extra features dug up from the archives. When you think that by the time this film was made there was a rich diversity of outlets to promote movies on it is lamentable some releases of some films omit this valuable plus.

The scenery is breathtaking and it helps that the film is not a studio but is authentic; there is a script, plenty of action - but all is subordinate to the telling of the story which is based on real events. The action is well-handled, the inevitable love-interest does not spoil the action and what can one say about those fab ski-ing jumpers?!
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The Heroes of Telemark [DVD] [1965]
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