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The Dam Busters [DVD] 
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The true story of Dr Barnes Wallis (Michael Redgrave), whose invention of the 'Bouncing Bomb' is greeted with scepticism in the Second World War. However, RAF Wing Commander Guy Gibson proves the bomb's worth in a daring mission to destroy the German Ruhr Dams. Also starring Richard Todd and Ursula Jeans.
Something of a cult item among British war movies (and brilliantly spoofed a few years back by a lager ad), The Dam Busters turns a minor World War II incident into a saga of heroic stiff-upper-lippery in the classic British style. A bombing raid is proposed on a strategically vital Ruhr dam, but its position is inaccessible. Enter eccentric inventor Dr Barnes Wallis (Michael Redgrave in best daffy professor mode) who comes up with a genius idea--a bomb that will bounce on water like a skimmed pebble. Naturally the top brass pooh-pooh it, but gallant Wing Commander Guy Gibson (Richard Todd) is persuaded, and between them flyer and boffin forge ahead. The touches of carefully understated emotion now verge on self-parody, but it's hard not to get caught up in the narrative sweep, especially when the bombers take off on their mission and Eric Coates' stirring march hits the soundtrack. The modelwork, state-of-the-art for its early 1950s period, still looks impressive, and the death of Gibson's beloved black Labrador (embarrassingly called Nigger) is a three-hanky moment to rival the shooting of Bambi's mum. --Philip Kemp --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The visual presentation is nothing short of perfection, and I do not say such things lightly. To their credit, Optimum have got absolutely EVERYTHING right on this one.
Firstly, the frequent temptation with HD to crop films that were originally shot Academy down to fill a 16:9 frame has been resisted, with the film retaining its full original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, pillar-boxed within the 16:9 frame.
The clarity of the image is so stunning that I cannot imagine they used anything other than the original negative, which would mean that the film would have had to have undergone a full-blown restoration (not cheap!)
Grading is absolutely first rate, with a terrific grey scale and no discernible clipping of white areas of the image. I did notice some slight black crush on very dark jackets, but this may well just be my TV. The image is as sharp as a razor, with the amount of extra detail being revealed nothing short of staggering for a film made over fifty years ago.
Most importantly, this sharpness is entirely natural and I did not detect the slightest bit of artificial processing of any kind; no edge enhancement, no artificial sharpening and no DNR.
The image retains a wonderfully natural, film-like quality with grain present throughout, as it should be, but always mild and controlled, and never bothersome.Read more ›
Having read this review I urge people to ignore the comments made by Philip Kemp as being a load of puerile nonsense. Comparing the death of Nigger(Guy Gibson's labrador) to the death of Bambi's Mum,is belittling the men who held this dog as a mascot. Guy Gibson firmly believed that had his crews found out about Nigger's death it would have been seen as bad luck and quite rightly so.
This was not a minor operation. It was a highly technical operation for the day, no radar, they had GEE not quite the same, flying at 100 feet across the channel and over Holland and Germany, and the 60 feet over the lakes to the dams.
In the context of the '40s the term "Nigger" did not have the conotation is has today. Does Philip Kemp fully realise the outside professionl expertise that is called upon in the making of this type of film. One can only do so much within a budget within the two hours allowed. It's a well known fact that film companies tend to embelish heroism and if Philip Kemp cannot recognise this as indicated by his trite statements he should get an education.
I know this film is revered amongst the vast majority of those who are knowledgeable before and after the fact. I would hate to think that a frivilous and sarcastic review would desuade people from buying such a wonderful and gratifying film that honours the participants(Commenwealth aircrew including one American who joined the Canadian Air Force) and a long lasting commeration to RAF Bomber Command and the durability of spirit as exhibited by the British people.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
OK... What Guy Gibson did in WW2 with the Dam Busters raid,
shorten the War by 6 months, FACT!. Guy Gibson was a war
hero, as was Richard Todd who played him. Read more
Just what I expected.Fast service,very good value for money.Published 1 month ago by gilberts emporium
This is a classic film, a must have in the collection for anyone who is interested in WWII, the story of the damn busters or gets that feeling in the stomach at the sight or sound... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stella
The BluRay version of this classic WW2 film is brilliant. All BluRay transfers should be as good as this one. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mr. S W. vanOs