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I haven't seen every war movie ever made, but I have seen scores of
'em. Dieppe - a TV miniseries - is one of the best. Before I discovered
it listed here on IMDb I'd been unable to find any mention of it in the
standard film reference books. So chalk up another one for the
All the elements of good film-making work together here, including cast, script, and direction. What distinguishes Dieppe from all but one or two other war films (I'm thinking of The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far) is its focus on the planning as well as the execution of a military operation - the high brass, all the way up to Winston Churchill in this case, as well as the poor sods on the sharp end of the spear. That the actual Dieppe landing was a disaster - largely the result of cross-purposes, rivalries, and petty politicking among those in charge - makes this an especially important story for the generation that thinks World War II was easy, uncomplicated, and maybe fun. Although British and token U.S. forces were also involved to make the landings a true Allied effort, the Canadians took the brunt of the punishment on the beach. We in the United States need a reminder that our northern neighbors were fully engaged in both World Wars.
Strategy and politics aside, Dieppe tells a gripping true story. Catch it if you can.
With a cast of veteran Canadian actors, Dieppe gives a true-to-life
depiction of life in the Canadian Army in WWII from two perspectives; that
of the Generals, and that of the footsoldiers. Both were keen on going into
action against the Germans, and the film is very good at showing why both
groups felt that way.
While the action sequences of the last hour may disappoint, especially compared to Saving Private Ryan, the chaos and carnage of Blue Beach is nonetheless accurately portrayed. One could bemoan the fact that the main landings were not given screen time, but the movie is more about the relationships between the senior commanders, and the politics of the Raid. At the same time, a sympathetic and convincing portrayal of the life of the common Canadian soldier in Britain is given as well.
Uniforms, weapons and vehicles are all well researched, though grognards may well find much to point out.
This film is an exciting, thought-provoking, and convincing portrayal of the Canadian Army in Britain in 1942.
This movie is very well done, all in all, in portraying a very touchy,
touchy than something like the bloody Omaha landings for one reason - it
didn't work, and casulaties were just as high. This movie does a good job
portraying how the Canadians got the bad end of the deal, and despite the
times lacking budget, still manages to make out.
However, there are a few things which are hard to stomach. One, is how the movie can't seem to decided if it wants to be bloody or not. Was there not enough money for squibs on the first day of the Dieppe landing scene, but more than enough on the last? I don't get it.
Also, a lot of the combat was just to much confusion. Platoon did a good job of creating a confusing scene, while still being watchable, but there were parts in this film where it was to much camera jerking around.
All in all, I don't know any other good films about the Dieppe invasion, so if it interests you, I suggest you check it out.
Oddly enough, I saw this production on a videotape bought at a garage sale. Somehow I had missed it when it first was on CBC. This is one of the best things they've done and it's a pity these productions aren't recycled more. It was done 11 years ago but is still pertinent with high production standards. I think they should have been more specific. For example, the Essex-Kent Scottish (at that time from Windsor and Chatham Ontario)was one of the key regiments involved. Yet there is no mention of them or the other two main regiments (from Winnipeg and from Quebec I believe.)There also was nothing specific about the late Col. Merrit who won the VC at Dieppe and who, in his own right, was quite a colourful character. The movie also does not show the motorized assault vehicles. They were disabled when the stones on the beach jammed their treads and pictures taken after the attack show large numbers of them abandoned. But all in all it's a satisfactory testament to a tragic day in Canadian military history.
This is a very well done TV movie; criticisms that it only features one
of the units involved are not really valid. The movie chooses to focus
on two levels; that of a single battalion (in this case the Royal
Regiment of Canada from Toronto, not to be confused with the Royal
Canadian Regiment), and also the highest levels of command. Those not
familiar with the command structure of the Canadian Army in WW II may
be briefly confused but will be able to pick out the chain of command
by context clues.
Working within an obviously limited budget, this production goes above and beyond in presenting an interesting, and accurate if slightly fictionalized view of the politics behind Dieppe as well as the view of the Raid from the soldier's POV. Blue Beach is recreated in great detail. It is unfortunate the other parts of the raid were not recreated, but they weren't necessary for this telling.
Be sure and read Brian Loring-Villa's book in conjunction with this series.
DVD version has a fascinating 1962 documentary with interviews with many of the key players on the real raid. See also my review at amazon.com regarding the DVD for additional info.
I think Dieppe is not only a great WWII movie, but also the only really good Canadian movie out there. The way it blends the stories of the different soldiers with the story of the generals is very well done, and the fact that you know what happens at the end just makes it more powerful and compelling. And the battle scene is superb. Steven Speilberg totally copied it when he did the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan. Sure, he added more explosions and gore (he had a bigger budget), but personally I think Dieppe's battle scene is better than Saving Private Ryan's, because you know the characters and you care about what happens to them, unlike Saving Private Ryan where you're seeing them for the first time. Very good movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I happened to catch the ending of this series on TV when it was aired in the 90s. That is powerful and I always wanted to see the whole thing. Finally I got the 2-disc series from Netflix. The production values are high, but the beginning totally turned me off: it opens with a young soldier being seduced for fun in a bar (in a way that doesn't help define the characters of him or his buddies in any depth) and then goes on to some blarney in a bathtub made for the movies (with a degree of realism that was hardly portrayed in real movies back then: it is just meant to shock the modern viewer early on and set them up for the ending). I hung in there despite all this, but they totally lost me when they showed the two soldiers stealing food during Churchill's speech and the glib justification for crime the one soldier gave; nonsense. This is all modern stuff--the emphasis on sex, the cynicism, the foolery; they didn't seem interested in portraying the real times and mores of the people back then, so I just took the disc out and watched something else.
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