Combustible Celluloid
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With: Brian Stirner, Davyd Harries, Nicholas Ball, Julie Neesam, Sam Sewell, John Franklyn-Robbins, Stella Tanner, Harry Shacklock
Written by: Stuart Cooper, Christopher Hudson
Directed by: Stuart Cooper
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 75
Date: 07/01/1975

Overlord (1975)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

War Lore

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Featured in the great 2004 documentary Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, this unknown 1975 classic from England now gets a second chance. Directed by an exiled American, Stuart Cooper, the film crosses breathtaking documentary footage (much of it shot from the air) with the story of a quiet young man, Tom (Brian Stirner), entering military service during World War II. Tom doesn't quite grasp the horror of the war; he gets himself into trouble during basic training, carries a copy of Dickens and worries about his cocker spaniel. But when he finds himself landing on the beach on D-Day, his movie-style life merges with the documentary harshness of the war itself. A restored black-and-white print opens today at the Balboa, and a DVD from the Criterion Collection will follow.

DVD Details: It arrives in April of 2007, and Criterion is not kidding. The new DVD comes with a hi-def digital transfer approved by director Cooper, plus a commentary track with Cooper and actor Stirner. Then we have a video about film archivists, a photo essay with Cooper talking about photographer Robert Capa, one of Cooper's early short films, two WWII-era films from the British Ministry of Information, journals from two D-Day soldiers read by Stirner, and a trailer. The booklet contains an essay by film critic Kent Jones, a short history of the Imperial War Museum, and excerpts from the novelization, written by Cooper (and Christopher Hudson).

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