The Dam Busters: Collector’s Edition

The Dam Busters
Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave, The Dam Busters. © 1954 STUDIOCANAL FILMS Ltd..jpg

Marking 75 years since the raid, from StudioCanal comes a new blu-ray restoration of… you are already thinking of the theme tune aren’t you?

Let’s be honest, you can’t mention The Dam Busters without thinking of, “Duh, Duh-duh, Duh-duh-duh-duh-duh…” Give Eric Coates his due, he could write a good tune. The story itself is also good and still stands the test of time. The performances from Michael Redgrave as bouncing bomb designer Barnes Wallis and Richard Todd as Wing Commander Guy Gibson are still remembered fondly.

Of course, there is one other part that is remembered that has always been a bit of an issue for TV channels whenever the film is repeated. In this release, when you start playing the film, there is a comment saying they have decided to keep the name of the dog in for reasons of historical accuracy. This I support. It is only right we remember the historical facts, no matter how distasteful they are now.

Watching the film back though, it is surprising to see other elements of the film that may be considered dodgy today. We all know the dog’s name is a problem or many, but you also forget that in the film the dog is given a pint of beer to drink too. Also, there is the sad way the dog meets its end, hit by a car. Isn’t it typical that even when the character is a dog, in a movie the black guy gets killed.

Concerning this particular release, there is one odd thing that strikes you as soon as you put the discs in. That is, the first thing that comes up is the language selection, and there are two languages to pick from: English and German. How many Germans are watching The Dam Busters?

Many of the extras in this collection are from previous releases. These include historical documentaries on the raid and on Wallis, footage from the bomb tests and footage of the film’s royal premier. Also on the discs are also two brand new features. One is a making-of-documentary, and the other is a featurette about the film’s restoration. The collection also includes art cards, a booklet with forward by historian Dan Snow, a poster of a Lancaster Bomber used in the raid, and the recreation of a signed photo of the bombed Mohne Dam by the members of 617 Squadron.