Their Finest Hours proves one thing to me. World War II still sells decades later. Film Movement Classics continues to kill it with their Studio Canal releases. Hopefully, this only opens the floodgates to far more successful releases. I’d love to see more releases like this, but let’s talk about this one first.
Went The Day Well? is a quiet film about an English village infiltrated by disguised German soldiers. It’s quite an effective paranoia piece that never quite capitalizes on the material. Still, I can’t see how it’s not ripe for a re-imagining. The potential for some insane storytelling is rich here even in the modern era.
The special features aren’t as stellar as the others, but still pretty good. But not as stellar, I mean this first film doesn’t have any supplemental material. So, there.
The Colditz Story is my least favorite film in the Their Finest Hour set. Guy Hamilton directs a prison escape movie with more dialogue than action. In 9 years, he would already be working on Bond films. However, none of those action chops are on display here.
The special features are a documentary and a restoration comparison.
The Dam Busters is way more famous for movie nerds as being part of the inspiration for the trench run attack in A New Hope. What they miss out on is a World War II tale that might be among the finest in this Their Finest Hour set. Check out to see what it was like to make a film glorifying the British War experience so close to the end of World War II. Way less propaganda than expected.
The Dam Busters comes with two documentaries and footage of the actual bomb tests. Those are pretty cool special features.
Dunkirk (1958) is quite a great release to finally have on Blu-ray. Seriously, watch it after checking out the Nolan version of Dunkirk. While this one is dialogue heavy, it manages in a way that feels true to form. Their Finest Hour is full of World War II movies that don’t play to American standards. Yet, I feel this is the best entry point for novice viewers.
Dunkirk arrives with the Operation Dynamo newsreel, a 1940 documentary, John Mills home footage and an interview.
Ice Cold in Alex is a J. Lee Thompson film. That’s usually enough for me, but John Mills raises the stakes pretty high. What could just be a stranded men on a mission movie becomes a stark look at what it takes to survive by any costs. Great stuff, but not for everyone.
Ice Cold in Alex comes with an extended clip, home movie footage and interviews. If any of that sounds interesting, then check out Their Finest Hour.