|War and Remembrance: The Complete Epic Mini-Series
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Studio: Mpi Home Video Release Date: 10/28/2008 Run time: 1500 minutes Rating: Nr
The second half of this massive miniseries covers events from the last two years of World War II with members of our fictitious family--the Henrys--scattered throughout the world. Pariah "Pug" Henry (Robert Mitchum) visits Russia and England as an advisor--and proposes to his much-younger lover, Pamela (Victoria Tennant)--before retuning to the Pacific theater to join his son Byron (Hart Bochner), a submariner, in battling the Japanese. Meanwhile, Byron's wife, Natalie (Jane Seymour), and her uncle (John Gielgud) continue their harrowing plight, starting in the "Paradise Ghetto" and leading to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
This half--11.5 hours--aired on ABC in May 1989, six months after the first half. Unfortunately there is no kinetic battle sequence like the first half's Midway clash to absorb the viewer. Director Dan Curtis relies more on newsreel footage (and the sometimes heavy-handedness of narrator William Woodson) to cover large events. To compensate, the filmmakers give inordinate screen time to the conspiracy to kill Hitler (Steven Berkoff) by his inner circle. Like in Herman Wouk's novel, Hitler's decision to eliminate the Jews is the backbone of the entire series and the film's steely reenactments of these events--an amazing achievement for network television--is quite harrowing. Authenticity (filming at Auschwitz) plus ace performances (Seymour has been rarely better, Gielgud is outstanding) combine for a powerful statement, although the whole production is sometimes weighed down by the soap-opera elements of the Henrys' lives. The original Winds of War miniseries had a higher caliber cast, which is missed here. However, a few actors shine in their atypical performances, including Barry Bostwick (who tied with Gielgud for the Golden Globe) as a flamboyant submariner and David Dukes as a desk side attach¨¦ who reaches new depths in the war. Although admired and very watchable, the series did not impact the industry as much as its predecessor or sweep the award circuit as other miniseries (Roots, Holocaust, etc.) did, although it did take home the Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries.
The 7-DVD set contains an informative booklet, a CD soundtrack, and a disc of extras. Dan Curtis makes comments over 70 select minutes of the series (shown out of context), hitting the highlights of filming, a nice way of letting the filmmaker talk without searching for the commentary throughout the various discs. There's a new 30-minute feature combining new and old footage on the making of this massive production, and a 15-minute featurette on composer Bob Cobert. --Doug Thomas
- A little too much
This is quite a bit longer than Winds of War and it may not need to be. I skip over parts that deal with the trials and tribulations of people who, in Winds of War wandered around Europe not heeding good advice to get out while they could. Here, again, they are places where they should not be. I originally taped Winds of War and then made an edited copy I called "The Pug Henry Story". I have not done that with the DVD or with War and Remembrance, though I sense such an edit would be very desirable. In the meantime, get ready to fast forward or skip chapters to bring this down to a reasonable length....more info
- War and Remembrance
Not Quite as good as Winds of War but perhaps a little more accurate from a historic aspect....more info
- WHY DON'T UPDATE TO DVD FORMAT
It would be nice to update must of the old TV series to a DVD format, in order to have a chance to remember all greatest moments that you lived when you saw them for the first time....more info
The story as a TV series has numerous flaws; acting casting etc. However,one cannot help but to be moved and shaken at the depiction of the death of Aaron Jastrow. For all of the nay sayers who cry that the holocaust did not happen and who harbor any Anti-Jew or Anti-Semetic ideas, and for those of us who don't, I would make those scenes required watching.
- Great continuing story
Ends the story. Great. Now you can buy the whole set, starting with Winds of War....more info
- war and remembrance 2
War & Remembrance - Vol. 2, The Final Chapter: Parts 8 - 12Fantastic series,wish it did not finish...more info
- War and Remembrance
This series is probably the best thing ever done on World War II
Between Winds of War and War and Remembrance you have then every aspect of the war from the politics of pre war, to blitzkreig, to sitzkreig, and then all out war. You have the horrors of the camps as never before shown. This should be manditory viewing in our schools for children learning about the period of 39/45. It is my fondest hope that Paramount Home Video will produce Winds of War on DVD. Anyone who reads this should write them begging them to do so because from a letter I received from Paramount in March 2003 they said at present they have no intention of producing it in DVD....more info
- A great epic but not quite as good as its predecessor
Given how "The Winds of War" had been an excellent mini-series chronciling the lead-up to Pearl Harbor, one would think the follow-up would be better with the war itself. Instead, it suffers from overly padded dialouge and plotting and an overreliance on stock footage and narration to explain the big parts of the war. There's also the fact that about 90% of the cast has been changed which naturally shakes things up.
The worst of the casting is Hitler as here we get an over the top performance rather than the more restrained actor of "WOW." I know that this is supposed to show how Hitler lost control as the tide turned but it still comes off too camp to be effective. Spending so much time on the plots to kill him also comes off hard as it takes away from the other storylines.
However, casting Jane Seymour as Natalie works as she's a more sympathetic figure now and John Geilgulld is excellent as Jastrow musing over his fate. Mitchum may be a bit older now but he and Polly Bergen still mix wonderfully as does Victoria Tennett to give their story heart. It also helps having David Dukes back as Leslie Stole who redeems himself from the first story by discovering Germany's plans for the Jews. Those who wonder why the Allies could not find this out earlier are answered by the statement that no one wants to believe a civilized nation could carry out such a horror.
Indeed, it's stunning how the Holocaust is depicted, with nudity of people that wouldn't get on TV today so it being shown on 1988 networks is amazing. The horrors are done from the gassing to mass graves and the horrible shot of a little girl lying amid a pile of bodies. Even worse are the Nazis treating it like a joke and going about things normally while committing mass murder.
Like "WOW," Herman Wouk co-wrote the screenplay so it's quite close to the novel and improves by showing stuff that was only mentioned in letters or notes. The big change is that the Battle of Leyte, a major event in the novel spanning several chapters, is brushed off here with stock footage. That amazed me as in the novel Pug reacts to the bad decisions his commanders make and would have made compelling drama but I guess they couldn't afford it.
So while it doesn't match the scope or impact of "WOW," this is still amazing for the scale of production and giving a human face to one of the greatest tragedies in our history. ...more info
- Winds of War and War and Rememberance
I am thoroughly happy with the purchase of Winds of War and War & Rememberance. These are fantastic movies. It brings you into the war and makes you part of it. The stories were linked together so you really needed to have both of these great movies. Buying from Amazon has been the best for me and I will continue to make purchases with them. AL...more info
This is an excellent show, no doubt about it, and I would like to own this box asap. An important question remains though: are there any subtitles on these dvd's, if not foreign than at least English or English for the HOH??
An answer to this question would be very helpfull, anyone?
Regards, Victor ...more info
- A must-see mini-series
War and Remembrance" picks up where the infinitely superior "Winds of War" leaves off. This continuation has a multitude of problems and is not nearly as cohesive or riveting as its predecessor, but it's still worth watching and re-watching. Be prepared for a long sojourn in front of your TV however, it's 23 total hours of viewing time.
Some of the problems of its precursor have thankfully vanished... But the character of Natalie grates on the nerves. She makes one appalling choice after the other, until it's difficult to root for her. In addition, Seymour plays Natalie as a curiously flat character, and missing is the essential fire and determination of Wouk's Natalie. Hart Bochner is a marginal improvement over Vincent as the whiny Bryan, but his screen chemistry with Seymour is zilch. His scenes with Mitchum also betray his liabilities as an actor. Whereas Jan-Michael Vincent's Bryan was sympathetic and appealing, Bochner plays the part as a mean-spirited, spoiled and pompous prig: watch especially his scene with Mitchum when he whines about the picture of Pam Tudsbury on the table.
And what of the magnificent Robert Mitchum, the glue that holds the series together? He is much too old for the part of Pug Henry here and his limitations show. Whereas he was a trifle elderly for the Pug part in volume one, this was filmed six years later and Mitchum is downright doddering. Is he still sexy? You bet. Is it still believable that Pamela Tudsbury (played a bit insipidly by Victoria Tennant) would travel across the world to lie chastely in his arms for 10 minutes? Well... it's a stretch, but I wouldn't say no to Mitchum, would you?
The historical characters are, again, wretched. The Hitler they cast is absurd and one wonders how such a raving cretin as this could have held the German nation spellbound for twelve dark years. In fact, the Hitler scenes are riddled with absurd errors and if anyone believes that actual Hitler behaved like this ignorant maniac, please consult a non-fictional history. It's amusing that Pug Henry again meets all of the integral characters of WWII in one fell swoop: Hitler is on his dance card, as well as Churchill, Stalin, Mussolini and anyone else he chooses to see. It's silly, contrived and forced, but it still manages to rivet the viewer.
If you're expecting true-to-life World War II drama, forget it. But if you love Robert Mitchum, a good story of epic proportions, then this will suffice. I watch it every few years and love it despite its myriad problems....more info
- One of the Best Ways to Learn the History of WWII
I think these movies and books are a great way to learn about WWII because the blending of historical figures/events and fictional characters makes it real and holds your interest. You get more of a feel for what people experienced and had to deal with. I think all three volumes ("Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance") were excellent. I bought "Winds of War" and received both volumes of "War and Remembrance" as gifts from my husband and mom. I've read both books twice, and the movies followed the books very well. I think this was because the author of the books, Herman Wouk, wrote the screenplays. I also highly recommend both books.
I think the casting was great. I think Jane Seymour and Ali MacGraw were both good as Natalie (my favorite character in the story). Ali portrayed the spitfire part of Natalie's personality better; but, Seymour brought a depth, compassion and softness to the character that Natalie did possess. I think Natalie should have escaped when she could've, but then the story wouldn't have been as powerful and moving as it was. I believe Wouk had a point to make in writing the story that way. It stressed devotion to a loved one in trouble, and the unwillingness to believe the unthinkable could happen. Both of these were prevalent among the Jewish community in WWII. I think Mitchum & Bergen were great--wonderful chemistry and playing off one another. I think Sir John Gielgud was a better choice for the part of Aaron Jastrow than John Houseman. I liked both Jan Michael-Vincent and Hart Bochner as Briny. I think the part of Hitler in both movies could have been cast better. David Dukes as Slote, Topol as Berel Jastrow and Sami Frey as Rabinovitz were choice--couldn't have been cast better. Eddie Albert as Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long was good. Long was an embarrassment to the U.S. during that time--a person who should have never held that position. (Enough of my political opinion!) Ralph Bellamy as Roosevelt was also great. Robert Hardy as Churchill was good. Bill Wallis as Beck was spooky--he played the part so well.
I've used the movies as a way to teach my children about WWII and the lessons we can learn from it. I am a WWII buff, and have read many factual books on the subject and seen many documentaries. The works by Herman Wouk and Bodie Thoene (also excellent) are the only historical fiction books I've read on the subject. My main interest is the history of the Holocaust, Hitler and the war in Europe. I believe there are many lessons we as individuals and the U.S. as a nation can learn from WWII. History always repeats itself. I also highly recommend the book and movie "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom which chronicles the story of the ten Boom family in WWII Holland as they hid Jews in their home. They were a strong Christian family who were eventually arrested and two of them were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. I hope this review is helpful and happy reading and enjoy the movie!...more info
- War and Remembrance Review
Absolutely brilliant! What more can one say about this mini-series even with the various changes in the actors playing some of the main characters? Jane Seymour took over the part of Natalie Jastrow/Henry with consummate ease, while Sir John Gielgud took over the part of Aaron Jastrow with consummate ease as well. I thought he played the part far better than John Houseman did in The Winds of War. John Houseman had a tendency to play John Houseman in most of the roles he'd played up to and including that point. The special effects were much better than they'd been in the Winds of War, the difference of 5 to 6 years that had passed by between the making of the Winds of War and War and Remembrance could be seen. Whereas I haven't gotten around to reading either of the the two novels the mini-series were based on I feel that on having watched both series they would now make me want to read both novels just to see if both mini-series differentiated very much from both novels.
I would have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending the viewing of both mini-series to your customers....more info
- Missing Episode Promo's for each chapter and coming attractions
War and Remembrance: The Complete Epic Mini-Series I was very leary about replacing my two volume set with this **complete** collection, but I heard that the set contained all the AIRED Pre Episode spots and Coming Attractions and boy was I wrong. Unfortunately they will never be seen again. I taped the mini-series back in 1988 and have all the material, but it seems that without these spots there is something missing. In what I believe to be one of the greatest min-series ever produced it is a huge letdown that this material is not included...more info
- Faulty DVDs
Unfortuantely, the DVDs I received are faulty. The captions are locked on. No attempt at turing them off through the main menu will shut them off....more info
- Mom loves it
this was a gift for my mom who's 84 years young. she loves the whole series and she appreciates all the details in the dvd's.
she will watch at least one part of a dvd every day.
I know she will continue to get many hours of enjoyment out of both winds of war and war and remembrance...more info
- Final Chapter
Now you have entered the Real Nightmare of Hitler's camps. You must finish the journey with the Henrys and the Jastows. The shocking and realistic portrait of these camps and the sea battles will keep you on the edge of your chair all the way....more info
- Driftwood Goes To War But It Never Sinks
This was one of the best TV mini-series, this sequel to "The Winds of War". The producers had a good idea when they cast Robert Mitchem however they must have been thinking of him when he was actor in his younger days when he didn't 'act' so bored. Mitchem was miscast. He shows little emotion and in fact drifts through this series as if he were on valium. He acts as if he just doesn't wnat to be there. (That's something Jan Michael Vincent must have been on in the "The Winds of War"; he was terrible.) What got my attention however was the epic scope of the story and visuals, as well as Polly Bergen's performance. She's incredibly good and her characeter is truly like one of those sad and silly women of those 1940's films. Jane Seymour and other cast members are wonderful too. The scenes in the concentration camp are powerful and will break your heart. Network television doesn't make them like this any more. We have to depend on the likes of HBO and pay for the service. Grand, sweeping and worth whatever you pay for it. ...more info
I have seen this series and read the book a number of times. Ihave always enjoyed both. I like accurate history presented as a drama and the believe the cast was well-chosen. People tend to forget that history involved real people. The chance to see this drama gives you a sense of what the times might have been like leading up to the war....more info
- Five Stars for War and Remembrance
For sentimental reasons, I rate the Herman Wouk epic Winds of War - War and Remembrance as my favorite theatrical account of WWII. It's hard to say why. Certainly, it has been surpassed on a number of technical and acting fronts by newer mini-series like Band of Brothers or Ken Burns "The War".
I think the reason I and many other members of the over 50 generation are so loyal to this series [I'm on my third viewing], is that Wouk's books were for many of us the first beginning to end account of WWII. In short, we were in love with the Henry's before the series came out. The TV mini-series is faithful to the book, largely because Wouk served on the writing team.
To date, even the "Why We fight" chapter of Band of Brothers cannot compare with W/R holocaust thread. The holocaust thread does not enter Band of Brothers until Chapter 9 - when Easy Company liberates a concentration camp. Likewise, The War does not attempt to follow the holocaust thread so intimately. In Wouk's series, we see the holocaust from beginning to end in all it's forms. And we live with several characters who live and die through it. The scene where Aaron Jastrow, played by John Gielgud, gives his final lecture at Teresenstadt, is as riveting as TV gets.
For me, the fictional Henry saga makes the series. It gets you emotionally involved with people living through the war. It gives characters a chance to debate and react to wartime events.
If you are looking for a greater emphasis on combat and war or a completely non-fiction account, the Burns series is for you. If you want a well-rounded education on WWII - get all three. ...more info
- Completion of Winds of War epic
War and Temembrance satisfies the thirst for additional information rising from the initial encounter with a diversified and complete family, each member of which carries a type of person who had to find a way to survive from each of the situations inherited from an undersireable but impossible to avoid war. While it is evident that "Pug", as head of household and jack of all trades, going much further than a high Navy officer exists and keepts the variable elements of his household in a common direction, while each can be found in all parts of the world and personally meeting presidents, dictators and prime ministers, with whom he is able to talk in their languages. It may sound impossible, but yet it anchors you to the TV screen because you want to know what comes next. Your tour of duty takes you to Germany, England, Italy, Japan and you name it.
The high diversity of environments and complexities of their functions makes you wish to see the yarn again and again because there are details you missed which were important, but you did not realize it the first and perhaps the second time.
Definitely I advise purchasing this War and Remembrance series. Lovers of stories related to the second world war must see this excellent sequel to the Winds of War series....more info
- I agree that you should update to DVD for it & Winds of War
This production was not an enjoyable as Winds of War, but did tell the end of the story. It and its predecessor would do well in DVD format, particularly because of its length and storage space. Anyone agree?...more info
- Essence of the Times
I'm not a qualified movie critic but I wanted to concur with the other reviews. The quality of the casting/performances does run the gamut from lackluster to brilliant but, in my opinion, this actually enhances the experience. You don't view this movie, you experience it. It draws you into the uncertainty and the urgency of the period, the dispersal of military families, and the abject horror of war and the holocaust. You have to keep your distance from Schindler's list but you can imagine that you're a part of this great historical work. "Winds" and "War" are as good as any works to come out of Hollywood. Notice that most reviewers "love" it and have to relive it often. It's so real. This film becomes a part of you and you, a part of it....more info
- Awesome History in entertainment form
I had read all three books and had the Winds of War DVDs, when I finally got the W&R complete set, I'm glad I waited for it to be in a complete set, this is a wonderful history lesson of WW11 that we should never forget, the magitude is truly awesome, filmed in 10 countries, the story of the Henry family is also good, the stars did an outstanding job, these DVDs capture the flavor the the times & people, yes, it is very long, but the War was very long and covered so much of the world, in my opinion, our young people would greatly benifit from viewing the complete series, I also thourghly enjoyed the extra DVD of the music score, & the extra features, if you are interested in this time period, you will be glad to own this magnficent set....more info
- war and remembernce vol 1 and 2
I now have the two sets 0f both war abd remebernace and winds of war they have given me many hours of quality viewing....more info
This was absolutely wonderful. There is an old saying that history has a tendency to repeat itself. Watching the atrocities in this film has been a sober reminder that we should not shove under the carpet that which we are ashamed of. If we do, it could happen again. ...more info
- absolutly superb
Winds of war was fantastic and War and rememberance a fantastic follow up.One question,I have heard there is a third set I am very interested and would like info on where to get it.I am a fan of 2nd WW11 movies and the detail and actual events that are worked in with the story make it riviting to say the least.For any history buff these boxed sets are a must see....more info
- Remembrance you wont forget
Best miniseries I have ever watched.
Bouquets all round - including AMAZON (who gave me the opportunity to see this great epic)
Many thanks all round to everyone involved in this faultless teamwork....more info
- riveting though sappy
Winds, was truly great, but I didn't go for Ali McGraw as much as others did. Though she was supposed to be older than Jan Michael Vincent in the story, she looked 40 and he looked about 25. Jan Michael was much older than that when he did the role, but, he acted and appeared quite young. Even though Ali was dressed all in white most of the time, her face had a hardness to it that dispelled too much wine and partying with Steve McQueen. On the other hand, her acting was quite good, and we were able to overlook it most of the time; still her scenes with Briny were not as believable as her scenes with Sloat. Mitchum was awful, Bergen quite good. Mitchum acted bored most of the time, and his girl friend Pamela seemed more than a bit blind to fall in love with him, especially since she is supposed to come across as a level headed, smart woman. I liked the rest of cast. Winds of War, as an overall story of course was excellent.
War and R. was a continuation, but many of the actors were changed and not for the better. While Ali may not have been available or too past her prime, Jane Seymour was not a good replacement. She showed none of the determination or fire that Ali did. Mitchum looked even older, fatter and more bored. Briny's substitute had no charisma, and I couldn't even connect with him as Briny, the screwy adorable character who captured Natalie's heart. Both Hitlers overacted, (or were poorly directed) and behaved like the maniacs they really were, but somehow I doubt he really acted that way with his inner circle. They would have shot him on the spot. The story line again, was great. The Nazis were hateful, the Allies the good guys. But my favorite actor in this whole set up was Barry Bostwick who played Lady and played 'him' very well. Sharon Stone was, well, Sharon Stone. The rest of the cast was OK, but the choice of Polly's 2nd boyfriend didn't make it. I think it was Mike Conners (Mannix), (real name: Ohanian Krecker; Armenian) a much older Mannix. He didn't look like the sort that upper-class Rhoda would get involved with. Much too dark and unpolished recalling Rhoda's remark about Irish Ali, "dark enough to pass for a Turk or an Arab", she commented to her waspy friends trying to hide Natalie's Jewish looks.
Bill Wallis was very good as the hateful Nazi and David Duke continued his very believable performance as Sloat. Ralph Bellamy played an excellent Roosevelt, Sammy Frey was very good as Rabinowitz (Natalie should have followed his advice more than once.) Topol was also good as Natalie's Polish uncle. The Russian cast (whoever they were, were also very good) Natalie's insistence on staying with her nutty, befuddled uncle over and over again, was simply an unbelievable part of the plot, as anyone with a lick of sense would have escaped the first chance they got. More than once, I wanted to throw something at the TV screen. True also of the romance between Pamela and Pug. I had hoped they wouldn't get together in the end, and that Pamela would find some dashing young Englishman to sweep her off her feet and stick out her tongue at Pug who would just sail off, into the sunset in his too tight uniform, sipping his martini.
The war stories were the best part, and despite poor casting in many important roles, there was enough good supporting acting to make up the difference. Worth owning....more info
- War and Remembrance - The Complete Mini-Series
I consider War and Remembrance to be an Outstanding mini-series and I am absolutely delighted with it. The last disc of my set, however, was defective and I requested a replacement disc. I was told that the entire set had to be replaced, so I sent the entire set back and received a replacement set. The last disc of the replacement set works perfectly. Unfortunately, I have not replayed the entire series again, so I don't know if the other discs are okay and won't know until I play the entire series over. I will at some time in the near future replay the series, since it is such a good series, but I hope I don't have to come back to Amazon.com and report a problem with one of the other discs. I would have much preferred it if just the defective disc could have been replaced.
- Realistic view on our history
I was impressed by historic quality of this DVD. The timeline is precise and the story values the truth as much as possibly could be achieved. The holocaust is terrible part of our history, but must never be forgotten. Furthermore is a good thing to see how world democarcy has been preserved, people died for a simple thing called freedom. It should be mandatory to watch for everyone! A guy from the Netherlands...more info
- War & Remembrance
Product arrived quickly and in good shape. Cannot determine quality yet as it was a gift which was just given today. Thank you for the quick response....more info
- War and Remembrance Remembered
We have always considered the mini series "Winds of War" and "War and Rememberence" to be an example of the very best Herman Wouk and television has to offer and patiently waited until such time as we could make them both a part of our extensive collection of VCRs and DVDs. The work of this fine author is further enhanced by an outstanding cast of characters. It is too bad that all of the original actors seen in Winds of War could not be continued in War and Rememberence, but considering the superb job that was done by all in both series, and understanding the complexities of assembling such a cast over a long period of time, due to other contractual obligations, etc., once you settled in to watching the films themselves, the change was not in the least disturbing. Casting in both cases was simply excellent. ...more info
- Great WWII movies
They don't make them like this anymore. A great explanation of WWII and the Holocaust and the fictional story of a family who lived it. Be sure and get the whole set including, "Winds of War" and the Vol I part of this War and Rememberance. Great, great movies....more info
- Good Sequel, not Great
After 18 hours of "Winds of War (WW)," it's hard to be brief about the 30-hour sequel, "War and Remembrance (W & R)." Both works were written by Herman Wouk and directed by Dan Curtis. Other reviewers have been so critical of the sequel, mainly with cast changes, that you find yourself dwelling on faults. But the fact is WW was finished in 1983; W & R was produced 5 years later. So the two works couldn't really use the same cast.
To begin with, criticism of "W & R" seems out of proportion. No, "W & R" is not better than "WW." But we wonder what else people could have expected. Nazi brutality and glimpses of the holocaust may have been overdone, but that's how the author and the director wanted them. Moreover, we believe fault-finding about some performers, notably Jane Seymour and Robert Mitchum is just not fair. In our view, Jane does a marvelous job playing Natalie Jastrow Henry--probably better than Alie MacGraw had she reprised the role. (By the time of this production Alie would have been pushing 50 and 20 years too old for the part. Besides, Alie's just too feisty a person to put up with all Natalie had to endure in "W & R.") Regarding Mitchum, yes, he's five years older in this production but we didn't see him "doddering" as some reviewers say. No, Mitchum was fine.
As to other cast changes in "WW," we generally have positive views. We see Sir John Gielgud as an improvement playing Natalie's uncle, Aaron Jastrow. Similarly, Robert Hardy was better as Winston Churchill, despite a limited role. Hart Bochner was fine as Byron Henry, replacing Jan-Michael Vincent. And Sharon Stone seemed properly vampish as Janice Henry, Warren Henry's widow. We don't see the actor playing Hitler as a downgrade over the one who played him in "WW." On the contrary, we found him better, as he didn't have a lisp when he spoke and otherwise played the raving maniac Dan Curtis wanted. Actors playing Germans all did well in our view, especially Jeremy Kemp as the fictitious General von Roon. Granted, casting Barry Morse was odd as German Field Marshall von Halder, after Morse had played a Nazi banker in "WW." But Morse did well in the part, especially when he tells Hitler, "You lost the war when you declared war on America. " For this attack of conscience, Halder gets fired.
Finally, on the cast, Sky Dumont, who played Count Ciano in "WW," returns to "W & R." But this time he plays Col. Claus von Stauffenberg. We thought Dumont was fine as Stauffenberg both in bearing and performance. What a tragedy his real-life person didn't do as well in assassinating Hitler. 10 million lives may have been spared if Hitler had died on July 20, 1944, when Stauffenberg tried to blow him up.
Action sequences involving the Battle of Midway, submarine engagements, and the naval battle at Leyte Gulf are all done well in W & R. Missing, however, are the final surrender of the Japanese in the Pacific and in-depth drama on Stalingrad and Kursk where the Russians dealt the Germans staggering defeats. D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge are OK, but not as profound in the movie as they really were. Scenes of these momentous events were all overshadowed, though, by the long ordeals of Natalie and Aaron Jastrow and their fellow Jews. They are tortured by the Nazis from place to place and finally end up at Auschwitz. Truly, the mass murders, gassing, and incineration of innocent people has to be one of the most horrifying depictions ever put on film.
Other negatives about the production include subtitles having wrong names and information. Example: von Roon being called, Roehm. Also, the way some of the characters were either killed off prematurely or were never retrieved after being developed earlier. Most outstanding of these may have been the character of Warren Henry being killed at the Battle of Midway after his heroic attack; Berel Jastrow being shot by the Nazis after his harrowing escape; and Leslie Slote being killed as a paratrooper after being trained all his life as a diplomat. Also, as said above, too much time is devoted to the endless savagery of the Nazis. Nevertheless, it brought to mind the quote from Hans Frank, one of the Nazis hanged at Nuremberg: "A thousand years will pass and the guilt of the German people will still not be wiped out."
To sum up, we found "W & R " a thoroughly engaging series, well worth our time and money. Special features, moreover, add to the storyline. We give the movie four (4) stars, as contrasted to five (5) for "Winds of War," mainly because of the negatives cited above. "WW" was a hard act to follow, but "W & R" did about as well as could be expected. At times the show is hard to watch, but it makes impressions you'll never forget....more info