1940s Arizona

Published on April 19th, 2010 | by Chris

3

Reader’s Digest WWII in the Pacific


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On April 19, 2010
Last modified:October 5, 2012

Summary:

Truthfully, I think this set it worth it alone just for the first three discs. If you're an armchair historian / military history/film buff, definitely. The government footage of discs 2/3 alone is worth the price of admission

Reader’s Digest WWII in the PacificTomorrow brings the release of the Reader's Digest WWII in the Pacific 6-DVD box set from Questar.  I was fortunate enough to have an early glimpse at this, and I'm glad I did... but....

The set comes in a fairly attractive package, the black/white with gold accents is a nice addition to the shelf.  Each disc is in a slim-line case, so overall the package isn't overwhelmingly huge....  The set breaks down like this (and my review of each follows)

Disc 1: America Taken by Surprise- 1941.

This a roughly one-hour-plus long documentary on the events leading up to and including the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Actually this is a pretty good portrait of events in the Pacific before Pearl.  I'm glad to see material like this included in a "Pacific War" set.  A lot of times we're basically told that WWII in the Pacific started at Pearl, and that's simply not the case.  Everything from the rise of the Empire, their conquest of Asia, and the politics behind everything....  Excellent material.  Although it cuts between lots of photographs, actual stock footage... and plenty of scenes from the movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!"  which are unmistakable....

Disc 2: Attack and Counterattack - 1941-1943, and Disc 3: Victory in the Pacific - 1944-1945

Discs 2 & 3, though, are the real gems of this set.  They're roughly 2-hrs each completely made up of US military films of the period, chronicling various battles, from Pearl all the way to Okinawa.  Context is everything here, folks, and if you don't have it you won't enjoy these.  Made for military personnel, by military personnel, presumably during the war, there's a lot of propagandistic comments.  Not that its a bad thing, its a reflection of history we need to have.

I believe at least some of these were directed by John Ford, and some of the latter ones are narrated by Ronald Reagan, others narrated by the same voice you'll hear in the Looney Tunes "travelogue" style cartoons.  I can't remember (or find!) the credit at the moment, but the voice is unmistakable.

Some of the footage on these two discs is brutal, so fair warning.  It is entirely "in the trenches" footage, and is just what you'd expect.  The sound effects that were added to these films back then can get a little tedious, with the same explosions, machine guns, and screaming aircraft... but what're you going to do?  I didn't intend to sit and watch the entire thing, rather just skip through, but I couldn't help myself.  I found them that interesting.

But...  These films stop at Okinawa.  Wha?  Read on.

Disc 4: Crucial Turning Points

At this point, the set begins to confuse me.  Disc 4 is "Crucial Turning Points" of the war.  Unfortunately, only a few of these have anything to do with the war in the Pacific at all.  There's (IIRC) a spot on Pearl, and I believe one on Iwo Jima, and finally at the end of these is a piece on the A-bomb and the Japanese surrender.  It's too bad that most of the pieces are about the war in Europe!  I didn't watch any of those, so I can't comment on them.  I'm sure that they're good pieces, just I was in for the Pacific, and, well.

I will say this:  The piece on the A-bomb and the surrender *is* quite good.  Not just a "we dropped 2 bombs and they surrendered!" bit, it goes into details surrounding the development of the bomb, the Potsdam declaration, and more.  Very educational.

Disc 5: Headline Stories of the 20th Century: World War II

I was really psyched when I saw the description of this!  I had envisioned an entire disc full of newsreels from the period from the beginning of the war through the end.  Unfortunately, here again there's a great deal of material dealing with Europe.  Doubly unfortunate is that while technically it is newsreel footage, its cut and edited with plenty of contemporary voiceovers into historical-based segments.  I admit to running out of time to really dig into these, I'll do so later.

Disc 6: Going for Broke

Here we're promised the story of the 442nd, the unit of Japanese-American soldiers who went to... Europe(!) to fight.  I'll also admit to not getting to this disc.  But.  Here again, this is dealing with the European theater, and has little to do with the Pacific campaign, other than the fact that these guys happened to be of Japanese ancestry.  Not to belittle what they did and what they went through, but as a part of a "War in the Pacific" set, I'm not sure its entirely relevant.

Conclusion?  Truthfully, I think this set it worth it alone just for the first three discs.  If you're an armchair historian / military history/film buff, definitely.  The government footage of discs 2/3 alone is worth the price of admission.  I didn't have a chance to dig into the extras on most of the discs either, except for Disc 1.  There you'll find some stories from each of the ships attacked at Pearl, which while short, are interesting.

WWII in the Pacific drops tomorrow 4/20/10, and you can likely find it anywhere you'd find sets such as these, including Amazon (aff. link below.)

Here's a taste of the type of material you'll find on discs 2/3.  I think this particular piece is on there, at least in part, if not completely.

Reader's Digest WWII in the Pacific Box Set Reader's Digest WWII in the Pacific Box Set
List Price: $49.99
Sale Price: $13.00
You save: $36.99 (74%)
  Eligible for free shipping!
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours

Description

A GRIPPING WORLD WAR II DOCUMENTARY OF THE PACIFIC WAR. U.S. Military Combat Footage that includes Oscar-winning documentaries by legendary director John Ford. A story more compelling than any Hollywood fiction...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio:
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: Questar
Manufacturer: Questar
Original Release Date:
Actors:

Features

  • Factory sealed DVD

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review
14 Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Commentary, December 29, 2011
By 
PN (Lake Orion, MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Reader's Digest WWII in the Pacific Box Set (DVD)
This series is very good. There is commentary throughout the documentary and you can actually hear it. Unlike the Victory at Sea, 50th Anniversary Collector's edition that blares music thought-out. Or the Hunters in the Sky about WWII aces that drowns out the commentary with sound effects and music. The Readers Digest information is full of stories and testimonies. It documents the strategies of both sides. It details 15 crucial turning points in both theaters. It also tells the untold story of the Japanese-American soldiers. You really get a sense of how desperate things were early in the war.
0
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winning Birthday Gift!, May 10, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Reader's Digest WWII in the Pacific Box Set (DVD)
My husband and I bought this for our youngest son for his birthday. He's extremely interested in WWII, having had both of his grandfathers serve for their country - Army and Navy. He was very pleased with the gift and after watching the DVDs called to tell us how great they were and how this was the best gift ever.
0
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My father enjoyed this set., December 15, 2013
By 
Linkin Mall (a Superior state) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Reader's Digest WWII in the Pacific Box Set (DVD)
My 88-year-old father just moved to a condominium - no maintenance, no snow, no grass cutting. I bought these videos to watch as a together project during Thanksgiving. My dad enjoyed watching them and sharing his stories about being a Navy medic.
0
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Share your thoughts with other customers:
 See all 14 customer reviews...
Reader’s Digest WWII in the Pacific Chris

Summary: Truthfully, I think this set it worth it alone just for the first three discs. If you're an armchair historian / military history/film buff, definitely. The government footage of discs 2/3 alone is worth the price of admission

3.5


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



3 Responses to Reader’s Digest WWII in the Pacific

  1. Gail Infante says:

    How much is this video Reader’s Digest WWII in the Pacific and how do I purchase it.

  2. Chris says:

    Updated the post with a link to Amazon, below the embedded video.

  3. Pingback: The Road to World War II (~1978, 2011) | War Movie Reviews and News | War Movie Blog

Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑
  • Subscribe via E-mail!

    Get notifications, exclusive contests and offers, and more!
  • More War Movies

  • Large Association of Movie Blogs
  • Recent Comments

  • Facebook

  • Archives