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VICTORY AT SEA
A 26-episode World War II documentary, Victory at Sea is one of the most important series in the history of television. Made in 1952, the show was a huge success, winning many major awards and even spawning albums featuring the orchestral score by Richard Rodgers, best known for his musicals with Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. Produced with the full cooperation of the U.S. Navy, each 26-minute program consists of black-and-white wartime film set to a narration by Leonard Graves. The two years leading up to America's entry into the war are dismissed in episode one, while the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor gets a show of its own, the raid depicted in a brilliantly edited montage that almost certainly contains "docu-drama" footage. Each episode contains at least one powerful stand-alone sequence in the tradition of Serge Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin), these action-suspense set-pieces giving the programs an urgent, surprisingly modern feel. Indeed, the emphasis is at least as much on entertainment as information, the factual content delivered in poetic narration, the score transforming the war into a more than usually serious Hollywood adventure. The documentaries are nothing if not wide-ranging, covering parts of the land war despite the title, and including everything from the Atlantic convoys and U-boat "Wolfpacks" to war in Alaska, the South Atlantic, and the Far East, the Pacific War, and the Fall of Japan. There is an attempt to include other nations--certainly the D-Day episode acknowledges the British far more than Saving Private Ryan--but inevitably the focus is on America's war. The very dated narration gives a fascinating insight into how America saw WWII in the early 1950s, while the dynamic cutting and often genuinely remarkable wartime footage make Victory at Sea still gripping today. Twenty years later, Granada's The World at War would become the definitive television WWII history, but this release offers a unique opportunity to see a series of great importance from the very early days of television. --Gary S. Dalkin
I have not viewed it yet but this is an all time classic which I am looking forward to absorbing again. A keeper and the music is so special.Published 14 months ago by Janis Ellis-White
I recently purchased this DVD and was very skeptical after reading all the comments about the sound track. Read morePublished on July 3 2004 by Thomas Cunnally
What an unmitigated hustle this dvd collection turned out to be. Equal portions of venom and spite are hereby awarded to History Channel and NBC for this travesty. My 5. Read morePublished on June 30 2004 by John W. Dacey
I came across the soundtrack many years after first hearing snippets from it on the original T.V series of the same name. Read morePublished on June 23 2004 by simon ellison
I started to watch this with my father. I have to agree with everybody else, the sound was processed for the music, not the narration. Read morePublished on April 29 2004
Thanks goodness for this review system !! I rented this set on DVD and was very disappointed because of the sound mix problem. The great music is TOO LOUD most of the time. Read morePublished on April 27 2004 by Gerald Alfred
Just wanted to add another opinion to these regarding the poor audio quality. I saw Victory At Sea when it was rebroadcast on Sundays here in Boston, several years after the... Read morePublished on April 24 2004 by bmcky
I must agree with the audio comments.
It would be very costly, but this series deserves full digital video restoration with a re-recorded soundtrack. Read more