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I own the entire DVD collection for both "The Winds of War" and "War
and Remembrance." As a university professor, it is required viewing for
my 20th century world history class. All elements of this production
are astounding: casting, acting, writing, historical accuracy, filming,
locations, not to mention the haunting music.
Many of my students have told me that seeing this series changed their view and motivation of the importance of historical knowledge and the passing of it from generation to generation. They have even formed outside discussion groups because the allotted class time is never enough to accommodate the forum required for voicing and digesting their thoughts and feelings brought on by the film. This is a film for the ages.
Without doubt the most stunning work of filmmaking I have ever seen, "War
and Remembrance" is a massive experience to watch that will haunt you
always. This last great mini-series dramatizes the ENTIRE Second World
and does so at times with a raw honesty unseen before or since on network
Shot on location around the world, the soap opera stories are always intriguing as we follow the various members of the Henrys, an American Naval family as they encounter every major event of the war.
The heart, though, is the central plot of Jane Seymour, in a heartbreaking career-best performance as an American Jew trapped in Europe, and John Gielgud, mesmerizing as her uncle. As they are slowly, inexorably pulled into the Holocaust we follow them, step by agonizing step, to the final horrors of Auschwitz, filmed entirely on location.
The movie is aided by a brilliant, unforgettable score by Bob Cobert, especially the main theme which seems to encapsulate every single emotion of the thirty hours into its two minutes.
It may be a bit of a commitment to watch this, but it is worth it. "War and Remembrance" is as close to time travel as is possible, and makes that dark period of history come powerfully alive.
The broadcast of "War and Remembrance", based on Herman Wouk's novel,
was a television event. Although recapturing the excitement of watching
the miniseries can cost you around $180, it is well worth it. From its
beautiful opening and closing score to its unforgettable images and
people, "War and Remembrance" is like no other. Because it was an epic
miniseries, which cost around $110 million to make, the television
powers that be were able to film at various locations around the world
and bring vastly different (yet interconnected) stories of the war to
the small screen. In that sense, it is like several miniseries rolled
"War and Remembrance" revolves around the lives of two families, the Henrys and the Jastrows. The connection between them is provided through the marriage of Byron Henry and Natalie Jastrow. The Henrys are a naval family: Victor "Pug" Henry serves both as a diplomat and as the commander of a destroyer at various times in the series, Byron Henry serves on a submarine in the Pacific, Warren Henry is a naval pilot married to the daughter of a Senator. Byron's wife, Natalie Jastrow is an American Jew in Europe trying to escape the Nazis along with her uncle, Aaron Jastrow, and her son with Byron, Louis Henry. Aaron Jastrow's cousin is a Jewish Polish soldier trying to survive Auschwitz. Those are just some of the characters whose stories captivate the audience. There are also the experiences of their spouses, lovers, and the relatives of their spouses and lovers.
The audience is also given a glimpse into the thinking of the Nazi leadership, with Steven Berkoff providing a chilling and brilliant portrayal of Adolf Hitler. Here was a look at the Holocaust and the events and decisions leading up to it that was unprecedented at the time that the series debuted in 1988.
It is unfortunate that I have not found many libraries that carry copies of this miniseries on either VHS or DVD, forcing many people to either buy it or miss out on experiencing it. I, for one, have chosen to buy it, and I do not regret it for a day. I also recommend reading the book.
I really enjoyed this maxi series. It's too long to be a mini! This and the final portion are a whole lotta video..they total 14 DVDs. The initial smash series, Winds of War, was several more DVDs. So all in all, this was a long series! As I said, I enjoyed the entire "package". However, with 5 years between the first and the second series, much happened and the result was a number of actor/actress changes that make the second series confusing after seeing the first. Major characters, such as Natalie Jastrow-Henry, played by Ali McGraw in the first, Jane Seymour in the second. Aaron Jastrow, John Houseman, Sir John Gielgud. There are some others as well. Robert Mitchum and Polly Bergen reprise their superb performances as Capt. and Mrs. Pug Henry. Overall, despite the change in personnel, the acting remains great throughout the entire series. It's just kinda confusing having two different Natalies, two Aarons, two Byrons, two Janices, etc. I'm rambling, sorry. This series is long, but doesn't PLAY long. It moves along nicely and has enough plot twists to keep the viewers interest. I like this whole thing well enough to have paid to own it from start to finish. At least rent this a couple of DVDs at a time. It's worth your time!
Dan Curtis, the producer of this epic, must have been obsessed. His
vision of the war years 1936 through 1945 as depicted in this and the
companion work "The Winds of War" is unquestionably the best view of
the impact of war on simple human beings as could ever be imagined in
fiction and on film.
Based on a novel by Herman Wouk, with a screenplay written by him, the events of the pre war and war years are played out through the eyes of the family of Victor Henry a fictional middle aged naval commander and close confidant of President Roosevelt who is, at various times, posted in Berlin, Moscow, Pearl Harbor and ultimately made captain of a cruiser in the pacific. Captain Henry and his family are witness to the rise of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, the conduct of Hitler's "Final Solution", the Russian front, and the war in the pacific. The graphic detail of this production will literally bring tears to your eyes. It is hard to watch at times as you become so very intimate with the characters.
Robert Mitchum turns in a fabulous performance as Victory Henry the no nonsense patriarch of the family. Polly Bergen plays his flibbertigibbet wife Rhoda to perfection. The rest of the cast is all really remarkable but my favorite was G.D. Spradlin who portrayed Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance , fleet commander during the Battle of Midway, above and beyond understanding.
If you're into accurate historical drama, and can deal with reality, go to your library and check this out. If you haven't seen it, you should. If you don't you will miss a genuine historical document.
As a college instructor of modern problems and history- I am appalled by the total lack of knowledge today's students ( and fellow instructors ) have regarding the issues surrounding WWII. Moreover- many of these same persons have no ability ( or desire ) to make the connection of those years( 1933-1945 ) as to how the world is now formulated. Director Dan Curtis has exhibited both the will and ability to take both Herman Wouk's novel and incorporate it so successfully into this massive, and titanic film. I believe, that both WoW and W & R, along with "Saving Private Ryan " should be required film watching for all graduating high schoolers. Admittedly many of the films realistic and gritty scenes are difficult to watch- but unfortunately reality is often a cruel place. Both WoW and W&R give an honest lesson on the eventual triumph of the forces of good over evil which the world faced in the middle of the 20th century. The side stories of the characters involved and their individual romances and escapades only solidify the historical significance of the film. My favorite scenes involved the accurate depiction of the battle of Midway. Midway probably saved several years of hard Pacific fighting and thousands of lives as a result of the American victory. Grade A+ performances for Robert Mitchum and Jane Seymore. Steven Berkoff was masterful as Hitler and Jeremy Kemp continued his credible role as the sympathetic and loyal General Armin von Roon. Barry Morse also deserves credit for being able to switch roles from the slimy Wolf Stoller in WoW to a wise but challenging General Halder in W& R ( One goof- Halder was not executed in the aftermath of the July 22, 1944 attempt on Hitler as depicted in the film- he survived the war ). Both the Winds of War and War and Remembrance are films that must be seen!
I actually saw this film not that long ago on History Channel, after
seeing the entire Winds of War on network TV when I was down with a
back injury years ago. Networks no longer make these sweeping
miniseries. In one way, it's good, because so much of the time is spent
on inconsequential scenes just to fill time. On the other hand, it's a
shame. This particular miniseries brought the horrors of what the Jews
suffered in World War II right into your living room, and it was pretty
harrowing. Watching it on History Channel was an education, as
historians discussed the movie during the break. They agreed that War
and Remembrance was incredibly accurate in its depiction of the war.
Of course, having John Gielgud in the cast didn't hurt! He was absolutely marvelous. I can only say that the entire story arc concerning Gielgud and his family was remarkable. The scene where Natalie eats the apple brought to the cattle cars by the Christians was incredible, as was the entire cattle car saga. The concentration camp scenes, the depiction of the commandant and his family, the entire cover-up aided and abetted by the Red Cross, Natalie's will to survive and be reunited with her son -- they are etched in my heart and will stay there forever.
I heartily recommend this miniseries. Look for it on History Channel to get the commentary. This was superior work by Dan Curtis.
I am a WWII buff (and history in general as well). This series (hardly
a "mini") covers both the European and Pacific theaters of WWII thru
the eyes of the Victor Henry family. Not only is it a very interesting
story about the lives of these specific people, but also tells a lot
about WWII and it inhumanity. So, on both accounts it is excellent, and
depicts most of the WWII major events, although not all equally.
Back in those days, there was no CGI, so what you see is either real life, or models. Obviously, the war scenes are a combination of both, but very well done so you believe you are actually there in the battles, on the ships, or in the planes.
While this series (War & Remembrance) is 6 DVD's (30 hours), I was striving for more when it was all done. I watched it when it was aired in 1988/1989, so it was not new for me from the DVD set. Nonetheless, I was still captivated, and will gladly watch it again. The sound is also updated and very good (DD 5.1).
I would recommend this to anyone who cares to look into WWII and its horrors. It gets a bit graphic with the Jewish persecution and extermination, but doesn't touch on the horrors commented by the Japanese in the Pacific. So, if this sort of realism offends, either skip over those parts or don't watch it. But remember, the name of the book (and hence, of the series) was so designed and selected such that we as a human race never forget all the terrible things that happened and that caused so much world pain and destruction.
Jane Seymour, John Gigliold, and Robert Mitchum are all excellent and make you believe they were these people. I don't know why Jane & John weren't used in the original series (The Winds of War) since they were so marvelous and believable and held true to their characters throughout. The very end is heart wrenching, so have your Kleenex ready!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of the most powerful dramas I have ever seen. I read the
book over 10 years ago, so when I saw the miniseries at my local video
library, I decided to have a look. Seven tapes, about three hours each,
but I would gladly have watched seven more.
I'm not a great "war movie" fan, but War and Remembrance succeeds in capturing the enormous scope of the Second World War while also telling the stories of personal sacrifice and heartbreaking tragedy.
One of its many great strengths is the way it brings out the fact that not all the Germans were bad, and not all the members of the Allied forces were good. There were noble, patriotic members of Hitler's staff who were horrified by what he was doing. And there were also shortsighted clowns among the Allied forces and in their political ranks.
*****MILD SPOILER ALERT**********
To illustrate this, Aster's action against the fleeing Japanese seamen showed that the Germans and Japanese weren't the only ones who committed atrocities. I know Aster was a fictional character, but it's very likely that things like that did happen.
It would have been great to have had a closer look at what was going on among the Japanese too, but I guess I'm just being greedy!!
*********ANOTHER MILD SPOILER *********
The acting is mostly good, and a lot of it is outstanding. I loved the narrative voice-overs of the battles and other historical facts. Scary to think how close the Battle of Midway came to being a disaster for the Americans. The war might have had a very different outcome. The combination of "documentary" and "story" really works well.
The portrayals of Hitler, Churchill and Roosevelt were great -- better than most of the "main" actors, in my view! A lot of this War and Remembrance is difficult to watch, especially the concentration camp scenes. But painful as it is, it's right to remember that horrors like that did happen. Again, the film does make the point that it wasn't ALL Germans who advocated for such treatment of the Jewish people.
The only reason I haven't given it a "10" is because there are so many characters that somebody who has not read the book might get confused.
But it's an excellent, praiseworthy film. One that I think I'll be reflecting on for a long time.
After reading the book The Winds of War and watching the first mini series in 1983, I waited for War and Remembrance to premier in 1989. I own the tape sets and re-watch them every one in a while! Herman Wouk's novel was GREAT and Dan Curtis was outstanding in both mini series. The ABC television network should re-run both mini series for sweeps week. I bet it would be a hit 2nd time around in the 21st century!
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