Stalingrad (1993) Dominique Horwitz, Thomas Kretschmann DVD
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Top Customer Reviews
"Stalingrad" is a military history masterpiece, with a fantastic mix of action, historical accuracy, very good acting and an overall downright unbiased description of the fight for Stalingrad, and the ensuing fate of Von Paulus 6th Army.
This would make it a "must buy" for anyone with an inkling of interest in the subject, but for the way it is presented in the UK.
Instead of doing the sensible thing, and releasing the film in the original speak (German), giving the choice for subtitles or dubbing, the publisher decided to just "force-feed" us a very dubious quality, English dubbed version.
I mean, in a film of considerable drama, at points I nearly had to hold my laugh at the ridiculous German accents that the dubbers used, as it looked more like something fitting for "Allo, Allo" (in all its brilliance) than a serious war film.
Bottom line, do not buy the UK dubbed version and either buy the NTSC version in the original language (which I never had the chance to review) or, if you have knowledge of German, the German release.
Beyond the issue mentioned, "Stalingrad" is a masterpiece.
Stalingrad is a great, if occasionally hard to watch, movie following a platoon from their arrival in the titular Russian city through the Eastern Front campaign as seen through their eyes. To say that it's "Das Boot on the Russian Front" is a tad unfair but it perfectly sums up the general mood and direction of the film. It's gritty, it's grim and it's bloody and given the eventual outcome of Hitlers Russian campaign it's suitably downbeat in its conclusion. Production values are high with realistic battle sequences and the characters are given a human face as we see them facing all the hardships the Russians and their abysmal weather can throw at them.
Definitely a recommended film, but sadly not at the top of my list of recommended discs.
In the US it was at least treated to a dual language release with the choice of either dubbed English or subtitled German. This would be a better disc to get hold of if you can track it down.
Stalingrad begins on the Italian coast where a German platoon enjoys leave after the Battle of El Alamein in North Africa. Recovering from wounds and enjoying wine and German women while sitting along a bright, sunny, beach the men are called to order. A new opportunity for glory awaits them in Russia. Next stop Stalingrad. We see the platoon boarding a train and entering a tunnel in Italy and exiting a tunnel into Russia. We see the platoon's new officer Lt. Witzland writing home to his wife. A stranger to battle, Witzland writes of the glories to come and of his hopes that he will prove himself to the battle-hardened men under his command. As we shall see, Witzland does indeed prove himself but not in the manner he could ever have predicted.
Witzland's baptism starts immediately upon disembarkation on the outskirts of Stalingrad. Horrified at the mistreatment of some Red Army prisoners he protests only to find himself knocked into the mud and sneered at by the powers that be. Word quickly spreads that this callow youth is a "friend of the Russians" and only his father's military background saves him.
The platoon is ordered to take a factory and the horror begins. Amidst flame throwers, horrible deaths and raw sewage all thoughts of romantic heroism evaporate and Witzland soon learns that survival is the one and only rational, if hopeless, goal one should take into war.Read more ›
Stalingrad is a harrowing and brutal account of platoon level fighting in the titular campaign - scenes come from every stage of the great battle. The action is realistic and bloody without being excessive - while scenes in between serve to build up the viewer's bond with the 5 main characters (Horwitz, Kretschmann etc) as a group but strangely never as individuals.
Stalingrad benefits from being directed by a German as the film is largely impartial to the political background of the conflict (with exception to the 'evil Nazi' Hauptmann) and prefers to portray the futility and brutality of war with the unimaginable suffering it causes to all concerned - the expulsion of civilians into the russian winter and burning of their village is one example.
Referring to the DVD version, I was a little disappointed in the poor dubbing of the German voices, in addition to the lack of many special features that must exist such as deleted scenes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought the dubbed version of this film a couple of years ago now and although good, the English voices were so wooden and expressionless, the atmosphere was ruined. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Zephyr Man
Before you rent this film you should know it is sub-titled. Think Amazons should do this on all films but it was goodPublished 22 days ago by Julia Packer