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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More gems from life how it used to be, 17 Jun 2011
By 
S. M. Edwards "Eddy of England" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Look at Life: Volume Two - Military [DVD] (DVD)
Thank You Network, you have done it again. Another marvellous little collection!!

Following on from their fantastic original compilation on the transport theme, Network have now given us 45 more ten minute gems with a military theme or aspect. As with all of Rank's 500 plus "Look at Life" colour featurettes from the 1950s and 1960s, these films were beautifully and thoughtfully crafted when originally made with commentaries pitched just right for the cross section of cinema-going mass-market audience that the films were originally aimed at. All the films are delivered by properly spoken chaps such as Tim Turner or Raymond Baxter - chaps who always wore their ties with their tweed jackets and drove Wolseleys with red leather seats and wooden steering wheels. Where appropriate to the content, some films have beautifully matched background musical scores to complement the films, specially selected and in some cases, especially written to add atmosphere and effect, which they do perfectly.

Rank originally made over 500 of these shorts designed for interval insertions or fillers at Rank/Odeon/Gaumont cinemas. As Rank were "proper" film-makers, the original picture and sound quality was excellent and all films were made in glorious technicolor on 35mm to cinema standard. However, modern digital remastering and clean-up capability has made these already high standard films look as fresh as a daisy, particularly when viewed through a blu-ray or upscaling DVD player. The high cost of clean-up and cost of remastering should not be under-estimated but is well worthwhile as the viewing quality is excellent and it makes the 45 film set look absolutely fantastic value at less than 40p per film. These are films to keep forever and with a limited production run, they will not be around long while they are such excellent value for such a super little collection.

The content and subject matter of each ten minute film features a wide range of military or service themes but are also fantastic social history records totally faithful and accurate to the era. My personal favorites include those covering covert rocket testing in the Austrailian bush, Bomb disposal squads based in Horsham, Decomissioning and breaking up our last battleship and a detailed study of the operation and reach of the NAAFI in supplying our forces. Full contents over the three DVDs and a brief decsription of each film are listed below.

The Black Arrows
The acrobatic team who performed daring manoeuvres in jets capable of more than 700mph.
Ceremonial Soldier
As we see, the sentries at Buckingham Palace are still highly efficient soldiers.
Soldier Abroad
A soldier's life at the HQ of the Third Royal Tank Regiment in Detmold, West Germany.
Under the Rocket
Life at the rocket range in Woomera, Australia, through the eyes of a young REME corporal and his wife.
Thunder in Waiting
The deadly cargo of the Vulcan Bomber is a crucial part of Britain's deterrent force.
A Piece of Cake
A film about the parachutists of the RAF.
Return to Arms
A study of the new West German army.
Submarine
A glimpse of life and work in a submarine.
The Rocket-Age Lancers
Looking to the future with the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers.
Air Umbrella
A look at NATO's international squadrons, with footage of the F104 Starfighter.
Flight Deck
The aircraft carrier is now the nerve centre of any large naval operation.
Pipeline
Refuelling both in the air and at sea.
Girls Ahoy!
Formed in wartime, the Women's Royal Naval Service is still going strong.
Survival
A look at survival techniques with Peter Whittingham and RAF expert Jock Wishart.
Muscle Men
A fast-moving film with enough vigour to prove that muscle and brawn still count!
Action This Day
The tough training of the Royal Marine Commandos - some of Britain's finest fighting men.
Char and Wad
The work of the NAAFI - from Kuwait to Gibraltar, Germany to Cyprus.
Test Pilot
A look at the RAF Lightning, supersonic watchdog of Britain's skies.
Rendered Safe
A look at the work of a bomb disposal squad.
The Last Battleship
The life and death of HMS Vanguard, and the uses to which her steel will be put.
Amphibian
A look at the DUKW and other amphibious military craft.
Turning Blades
The world of the helicopter in 1962; from the Belvedere to the experimental Rotodyne VTOL craft.
Plumbing the Depths
A fi lm showing the importance of surveying the world's seas and oceans.
Golden Wings
A look at various aircraft, including the Blackburn monoplane, the Sopwith Pup and the Hart.
The Black Watch
The Queen Mother visits the Black Watch on the banks of the Tay.
Girls of the Air
The girls behind the men who fly: members of the WRAF.
The Sky's the Limit
Aerobatics, born of necessity in World War I, now form part of the RAF's training.
Forward, March!
The infantryman is the indispensable soldier of the British Army.
Doctor On Call
A look at a remarkable flying doctor service based near Kuala Lumpur.
Trouble-Shooters
A film showing Britain's trouble-shooters, the Royal Marines, in Sarawak.
Under One Umbrella
The story of how three fighting services were united under one command - the MOD.
The Price of Valour
An insight into the lives of some of the holders of the Victoria Cross.
The Jet Folk
We see the impact of the United States Third Air Force, stationed in Britain.
Drummers of the Queen
A look at the little-known Junior Guardsmen's Company.
The Flying Soldier
A look at helicopter training within the British Army.
The Cherry-Pickers
Following the 11th Hussars from Hanover to Coburg.
Jumping Jets
The revolutionary vertical take-off capacity of the RAF Kestrel.
Air Lift
How transport command of the RAF keeps Zambia's economy alive.
Down to Earth
Following WRAF girls as they trek into the jungle.
East of Suez
More than 50,000 British soldiers, sailors and airmen police the rivers and jungles of Borneo.
School for Skymen
A glimpse into the world of the RAF College at Cranwell.
Moving Day
How the headquarters of NATO was moved from France to Belgium.
Free Fall
The story of the Falcons - free-fall professionals.
Jumping for Joy
The story of the Royal Green Jackets Skydiving Team.
Underwater Menace
Dealing with the hazardous legacy of World War II.

As with many "Look at Life" subjects, most films here bear testament to a bygone era of inventive engineering design and innovation and when Britain led the world in so many fields. Everyone did what they had to with minimal fuss with genuine courtesy and respect for each other and did not suffer the pathetic and stifling regulation which is too common today......... in short we just got on with it in those days !

Congratulations and well done Network, these are amazing little films and I am delighted that someone has dusted them off and made them available to us all, lest they were forgotten forever and never to be seen again. You absolutely must release all 500 of them.

It is also fantastic to hear that a further release of around 50 films on the Science and Technology theme is scheduled for the Autumn....... I cannot wait!! ....... more please !

There are only a few films here which are duplicates of those in the smaller Look at Life series previously released by Video 125 on Military Aviation and Cold War Jets.

Excellent work Network, please keep it up
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb insight into Military Life in 1950s and 1960s, 7 Dec 2011
This review is from: Look at Life: Volume Two - Military [DVD] (DVD)
I was thrilled to find these films had been released. Mainly for personal reasons because my father is shown in Pipeline (Valiant to Valiant flight refuelling) He remembers the film maker from Rank Organisation sitting behind him on take off (Log book ref; 23 August 1960) but has never seen the film, until now. Aside from this, these are classy, well made mini documentaries. Admittedly, some of the commentary is a bit corny now but oh, how the UK has changed in 50 years!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Military History., 18 Feb 2012
This review is from: Look at Life: Volume Two - Military [DVD] (DVD)
Any one who was in the Forces,conscript or regular in the late fifties,early sixties will enjoy these little snippits of Forces life,some of which were filmed I think as a program fillers in Rank cinemas after the decline of Pathe News in the sixties,some are out and out recruitment shorts for the new regular Forces just coming into being with end of National Service under the blanket banner of "The Profesionals".All praise to the team who digitised these films.Watch out for a pototype of the Harrier called The Kestrel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another set of nostalgia gems, 28 July 2011
By 
Adrian Balch (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Look at Life: Volume Two - Military [DVD] (DVD)
Having bought and throroughly enjoyed Vol.1 on transport subjects, I was sceptical I would enjoy this set so much, as I am a great fan of transport subjects, particularly aviation. How wrong could I be! All these short films were extremely well made and entertaining and many of these in Vol. 2 have a aviation element, with all in beautifully restored colour. My favourites are 'Air Umbrella' was the worth the price of the set alone, with NATO fighter aircraft seen in action during the early 1960s in Europe.Also 'Flight Deck' is another gem with Royal Navy aircraft carrier action galore and 'The Jet Folk' about the United States 3rd Air Force in Britain, with great footage of RB-66 Destroyer bomber aircraft and F-100 Super Sabre fighter aircraft in the early '60s! A shame there are a few films in this set that have already been released by another distributor, but better to have them twice than not at all! I hope Network go on to eventually release all 500 titles and I look forward to Vol. 3 Science subjects, which once again looks like it might include some transport subjects. These sets will build up into a wonderful archive of how good life was in Britain during the 1950s and '60s, so highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life In Colour, 4 Sep 2011
By 
K. Gibbons (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Look at Life: Volume Two - Military [DVD] (DVD)
I am enjoying making my way through this set of short films, one a day over several weeks. The films are taut, but very well made, with those luscious colours that only seem to have existed in the Sixties. Of course the real delight is listening to the commentaries with their jaunty optimism and humorously odd sentiments, reminding us how social mores change. In "Girls of the Air", about the Women's Royal Air Force, we are told, "They take an oath of allegiance to the Queen and are sworn into the RAF. Being ladies, they're given three weeks to change their minds and go home if they want to."

I am knocking a star off for what I consider to be a serious omission. In the previous set, on Transport, we were given the release date of each film on the inner sleeve. Here, beyond being told that the films were released between 1959 and 1969, and are (presumably) in chronological order, there is no indication, beyond clues within the films themselves, as to when they were released. For example, at the end of disc two in "Trouble-shooters", a film about the Marines, there is footage of jungle patrols in Malaysia commanded by a certain "23 year-old Marine Lieutenant Ashdown from Somerset". I consulted Wikipedia and saw that Paddy was born in February 1941, so the film would probably have been shot in 1964, but could have been released anytime between mid-1964 and mid-1965. The Sixties was a particularly fast-moving decade and so it seems to me important that documents from the time are accurately dated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look At Life: Volume Two-The Military (DVD)., 20 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Look at Life: Volume Two - Military [DVD] (DVD)
There are 45 films in total which have all been digitally restored to as near as possible to when they were first shot,& shown on the big screen by the Rank Organisation.
I found all the films very interesting to say the least:
From the Black Arrows daring aerial acrobatics, to sea mines being cleared, to the Valour of The Victoria Cross Holders ,To Military Survival Techniques,.
If you are interested in the MOD in anyway,then these dvds will certainly keep on your toes.I really enjoyed all the flims they have taught me a lot about a life which I did not know much about at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 2 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Look at Life: Volume Two - Military [DVD] (DVD)
A real piece of social history capturing that particular period of military history. I can recomend all of the Look at life series
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1960 again, 30 May 2013
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This review is from: Look at Life: Volume Two - Military [DVD] (DVD)
I really liked seeing all thes old films again. I remembered them from all thoes years ago. Pitty they still dont do them
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look at life worth watching., 9 April 2013
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This review is from: Look at Life: Volume Two - Military [DVD] (DVD)
Nostalgia at its best I have most of the Look At Life films it's great to look back on how life used to be, this Look At Life on the military is no different great seeing the technology we had then for fighting conflicts. Well worth the price for you will not be disipointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great nostalgia, 10 May 2014
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This review is from: Look at Life: Volume Two - Military [DVD] (DVD)
Wonderful episodes of life in the UK from previous decades, very interesting. How life has changed in some ways but stayed the same in others.
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