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The ambitious TV event War and Remembrance was the final opus in the golden age of the maxi-miniseries. This six-disc set offers the first half (seven episodes) of ABC's mammoth 30-hour production of Herman Wouk's bestseller--itself a sequel to the landmark Winds of War--mixing fictional and real characters around the events of World War II. It starts a week after the attack on Pearl Harbor and abruptly stops in July 1943 with the fall of Mussolini. Only half of the first series' lead actors return, including Robert Mitchum as the patriarch Captain "Pug" Henry. Although Mitchum is too old and less dashing than he should be, his presence is exactly what the series needs as it wavers between pop entertainment and a graphic look at the atrocities of war. The series' multiple storylines branch from the Henry family tree, from his sons' naval battles to his daughter-in-law's (Jane Seymour) harrowing flight through Europe with her famous father (John Gielgud), witnessing firsthand the collapse of European Jewish life in the grip of Nazi power. Director Dan Curtis said that after The Winds of War, the opportunity to show the Jews' plight led him to take on another daunting production. He takes the viewer into Auschwitz with unflinching realism (producer and former internee Branko Lustig returned to the subject a decade later with Schindler's List) and is just as deft with a few massive battle sequences combining models with colorized footage. Sometimes the soap opera of the characters' affairs seems pretty sappy, especially with some uneven acting. The DVD set also contains two featurettes from 1988 and 2002.

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MP7234 War and Remembrance: Part One DVD (1988/Robert Mitchum) $89.98 $69.98