Their Finest Hour: 5 British WWII Classics

Directed by
Film Movement Classics
1950
300 Minutes
Action, Classics
play trailer
Blu-ray
$63.74 Members
$84.95 $63.74 Non-Members

THEIR FINEST HOUR brings together five digitally restored British WWII classics for the first time on Blu-ray. Titles include the Ealing Studios-produced, Graham Greene adaptation WENT THE DAY WELL? (1942) along with Michael Anderson's Oscar-nominated THE DAM BUSTERS (1955), as well as three box-office hits starring John Mills – THE COLDITZ STORY (1955), DUNKIRK (1958) and ICE COLD IN ALEX (1958).

WENT THE DAY WELL? (1942, directed by Alberto Cavalcanti)
Based on a story by Graham Greene, this Ealing Studios wartime production tells the story of a quiet English village that has been infiltrated by disguised German soldiers.

THE COLDITZ STORY (1955, directed by Guy Hamilton)
Nazi Germany believed that no man could escape from Colditz Castle, but a group of Allied prisoners of war were determined to prove them wrong. Starring John Mills.

THE DAM BUSTERS (1955, directed by Michael Anderson)
Against all odds, an RAF squadron destroys German dams with “bouncing bombs.” Based on true events and the inspiration for Star Wars’ Death Star attack sequence.

DUNKIRK (1958, directed by Leslie Norman)
John Mills and Richard Attenborough star in the first cinematic retelling of the 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk, code-named Operation Dynamo. Produced by Ealing Studios.

ICE COLD IN ALEX (1958, directed by J. Lee Thompson)
Captain Anson (John Mills) of the Royal Army Service Corps dreams of an ice cold beer but first he must lead his medical unit to safety across the perilous North African desert.

Blu-ray Features

The Colditz Story:
Colditz Revealed documentary
Restoration Comparison

The Dam Busters:
The Making of The Dam Busters
Sir Barnes Wallis Documentary
617 Squadron Remembers
Footage of the Bomb Tests
The Dam Busters Royal Premiere
Restoration of a Classic
The Dam Busters Trailer

Dunkirk:
Dunkirk Operation Dynamo Newsreel
Young Veteran Ealing Short
Interview with actor Sean Barrett
John Mills home movie footage

Ice Cold In Alex:
Extended Clip from A Very British War Movie Documentary
John Mills Home Video Footage
Interview with Melanie Williams
Steve Chibnall on J. Lee Thompson
Interview with Sylvia Syms

24-page booklet with essay by film writer and curator Cullen Gallagher

Sound: Mono

Discs: 5

  • Highest Rating
    "Went The Day Well? contemplates some pretty grim stuff, but with equipoise, discipline and a sense of humor that embody exactly the virtues it sets out to defend. Apart from its considerable historical interest, this is a movie about how civilization survives."
    A.O. Scott, The New York Times
  • Highest Rating
    "Went the Day Well? is the innocent-sounding title of one of the most subversive films to come out of World War II, a British drama that was unsettling in its day and is even more so now. "
    Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times
  • Highest Rating
    "Easily one of the best prisoner-of-war yarns to come from any British studio, The Colditz Story is a taut real-life meller, based on the personal experiences of the author, Pat Reid."
    Variety
  • Highest Rating
    "...a meat-and-potatoes war movie, solid in performance, direction and stiff-upper quotient. "
    Ian Nathan, Empire
  • Highest Rating
    "This is a motion picture which must be seen. Redgrave as Dr. Wallis turns in one of the finest performances you'll see this year, anywhere. Richard Todd and the rest of the supporting cast are also excellent."
    The Village Voice
  • Highest Rating
    "Michael Anderson'sThe Dam Busters is an inherently inspiring true story, told in a reassuringly straightforward manner. There's no cloying sentimentality or self-congratulatory worthiness here, just honest British endeavour, innovation and determined stiff upper-lipped-ness. Excellent. A triumph of British ingenuity, the story The Dam Busters served to highlight the best of the war effort in a wonderfully celebratory fashion. "
    James Dennis, Screen Anarchy
  • Highest Rating
    "It is... a tightly crafted, hard-nosed war picture, told mostly through the eyes of two protagonists … It may not be as formally flamboyant as Nolan’s telling, but it’s a brilliant antecedent."
    Jason Bailey, The New York Times
  • Highest Rating
    "For those who thought Christopher Nolan’s shattering summer spectacle could have benefitted from greater historical context need look no further than Leslie Norman’s epic wartime classic from 1958..."
    James McAllister, The London Economic
  • Highest Rating
    "As tense as The Wages of Fear, and featuring cinema’s most refreshing beers.... Ice Cold in Alex (1958) has a simple, concise plot yet packs a hefty moral weight. Sixty years after its release, director J. Lee Thompson’s desert epic still stands up as an essential war film."
    Lou Thomas, British Film Institute
  • Highest Rating
    "Director J. Lee Thompson captures the stark, pitiless atmosphere of the desert superbly. The screenplay skillfully blends excitement, a hint of romance and a fearful sense of danger."
    Variety

Awards & Recognition