[Zdrasiv Hilter, 2004, 119 mins.]
This Czech-made film (in English) exposes a German plot to replace British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown with a doppelgänger, engineer a fall from power for Prime Minister Tony Blair and replace him with their man. The object of the exercise is to get the Labour party re-elected in 2006 to prevent a Conservative government opposing further erosion of British sovereignty and the march toward a Franco-German dominated European superstate. The story is well constructed, the biggest cheer of the night came when Peter Mandelson tried to play the hero and came unstuck big-time, and the ending is calculated to leave even the most cynical viewer feeling that there might just be a God after all.
|Bomb me once, bomb me twice|
[M. Inquay, 2004, 117, 99, 104 mins.]
The Iraq War Trilogy comprises:
Kuwait Rescue which charts the horrors of the first truly modern war against conventional opposition and the fateful decisions that led the visitors to take their famous 'one step too few'.
Fixing It For Dad which picks up the story a decade later when the weapons are even smarter and the opposition is even more elusive.
Extinction which concludes the sequence with an examination of the political fall-out from a war that was conducted with no political objectives and prosecuted on the basis of manufactured grounds.
|Lies And Liberty|
[D. Cantrell, 1978, 111 mins.]
According to Colonel John Cornwall, "Losing the British colonies in North America to such an inept and indisciplined rabble as that led by Mr. Washington will take a feat of military strategy, the like of which the world will never see again."
The film shows how the colonel and a loose association of rich British colonists stage managed the American Revolutionary War for their own benefit and considerable profit. Displaying great cunning and imagination, they were able to free themselves from the burden of having to pay taxes to the distant British government. Their reward was the ability to rule from behind the scenes via willing stooges, who wanted the trappings of power but who were not completely aware of the consequences, for them, of failure.
That road to power was full of perils and near-disasters, often caused by the inexperience and over-enthusiasm of the American irregular troops. One of the highlights of the film is the Reichstag Fire-style burning of 'General' George Washington's home in a bid to stiffen the resolve of his wavering troops.
|Smoke And Thunder|
[E.N. Scott-Carpenter, 1980, 105 mins.]
It was a common practice in the British army of bygone years for senior officers to overstate the number of men under their command. The 'scam' allowed them to draw allowances for their phantom troops in the form of pay and goods, which could be sold on for hard cash.
In time of war, they also kept the dead and deserters on the books for their own profit. Any officer who abused the system too shamelessly found his career blighted if he failed to heed a pointed warning, but most took the hint to show more modesty in their predations in future and most got away with it.
During the war in the Crimea, the first to be conducted under the scrutiny of war correspondents for the newspapers back home, the thinness of the British ranks soon became an embarrassement for both the government and the British military establishment.
The attack which subsequently became known as the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade' was the first outing of a cunning scheme to kill off phantoms so that a unit's strength could be shrunk to the actual value at a stroke, ending the embarrassing questions. The film explores how the idea evolved and how it was executed, and how the British public was provided with an enduring, if misleading, image of the tenacity of the British soldier.
[M. von Kerenski, 1984, 131 mins.]
The German military establishment has always shown great interest in new weapons. In the years before the Great War, the submarine offered an exciting new way to challenge the superiority of the British navy on the world's oceans.
This true account of the sinking of RMS Titanic was assembled mainly from German sources. It details the history of the German experimental submarine K-100 up to the decision point for her captain.
Kapitain Kramm was almost certain that his vessel had been spotted after a minor emergency forced her to surface. He had just two choices: submerge and quietly leave the area or take action before Titanic's radio operator could release the news of a new German threat in the Atlantic. Fortunately for Kramm, his torpedo knocked Titanic onto a collision course with the iceberg which got the blame for sinking an 'unsinkable' ship - although creating the legend involved gaining a great deal of support from an unexpected source.
|The Weapon To End The War|
[V.L. Delaney, 1998, 98 mins.]
Atomic bombs? Oh, yes, they were invented by the Yanks, weren't they? Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, testing them in the Nevada Desert? It's all in the history books. Wrong! All that stuff was just a decoy. As this British film [made with the aid of a Lottery grant] explains, the real development work on the atomic bomb was carried out in two sites in the British Isles - one in Cumberland and the other in central Scotland.
The plan ensured that German espionage efforts were directed against the American 'atomic research' sites, where a number of wildly improbable ideas were explored with a uniform lack of success. It is estimated that the 'intelligence' information which the Germans recovered from the United States set back their own attempts to develop a system for exploding an atomic bomb by three to five years. Yes, the real, productive work went on right here in the UK.
And all that stuff about dropping bombs from aircraft? That was just a story, too - which was mainly directed at deceiving the Russians. No, the bombs exploded in Japan were brought to that country in sections by submarine and reassembled on-site by British agents. And they were exploded by remote control when the agents were out of the danger area. Although, it was a very close-run thing at Nagasaki, as the nail-bitingly tense ending of the film shows.
[Eric Sloane, 2001, 103 mins.]
Kamikaze attacks on US shipping, particularly during the battle for Okinawa, threatened to destroy the morale of the US naval personnel charged with the grim task of air defence. The American commanders had no truly effective solution to the terrifying suicide weapon - but their allies had an answer of sorts.
The film follows the progress of the members of the British Second Counter-Attack Squadron as they refined their tactics and, ultimately, saved their American allies from a humilitating collapse of morale, and possibly defeat, in the South Pacific.
[M. Renfrew, 1996, 124 mins.]
Everyone knows that a spacecraft crashed at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Despite the intense security blanket, a little has leaked out about the fate of the four survivors and how the U. S. Government was faced with the nightmare of how to preserve the lives of members of an alien and technically superior culture.
Now, writer Merik Katuryan and the internationally acclaimed director Mike Renfrew have pieced together an account of what happened when a rescue mission reached the Earth one year after the crash.
This fast-paced film provides the answers to such questions as why members of his own administration conspired to remove the threat posed by President John F. Kennedy; why America "won" the Space Race but "lost" the Vietnam War; and how, and why, a loose consortium of forward-thinking individuals from countries all over the world engineered the collapse of Soviet communism.
|Survival In The Sky|
[Z. Verinski, 1987, 113 mins.]
This heart-warming tale tells how a groups of Anglophile Californian engineers fought through the design changes that made the Supermarine Spitfire such a success in the Battle of Britain. They even managed to give the new airplane the more aggressive name of Spitfire instead of the originally assigned name of Swallow. Their story is one of a race against time with war clouds looming and the British Ministry of Defense (sic) being its normal, obstructive self.
When war breaks out, the Americans all discover British connections and enlist in the RAF as pilots. There is great tension after the first of them joins the growing casualty list and the group begins to wonder if any will survive this battle for democracy. Even so, the Americans come across as worthy and sincere but rather bland. All of the best lines seem to go to the English actors playing Luftwaffe personnel.
|The Hess Murder|
[A.K. Lychonin, 2000, 93 mins.]
This is the previously untold story of how and why Rudolf Hess was slain in Spandau Prison in the late summer of 1987. Beginning at the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917, when Russia was forced out of the Great War, the movie charts contacts between members of political parties in the newly emerged Soviet Union and Germany across 70 years.
As the patterns of deceit and betrayal unfold, the viewer is provided with mere glimpses of Rudolf Hess's involvement. It is not until the last half-hour of the movie that the full impact of what Hess knows and what he could tell becomes apparent. The movie ends with the execution of Hess as part of a failed plan to prolong the life of the dying Soviet Empire, which had just two more years to live.
|A L'Eau! C'est L'Heure!|
[J.-S.-M. Mechante, 2001, 79 mins.]
This rather short but detonating movie provides an account of life in the French navy over the last couple of decades. It can be viewed at many levels - as a history of a relentless struggle for relevance for a non-NATO country; as an exposure of the underhand dealings of politicians, who are desperate to keep up appearances and maintain their own perks; and as what is a very thinly veiled, knockabout comedy.
The 'hero', Alain, seems to have many attributes of the Good Soldier Svejk, although female viewers will insist that he is far from being a human gargoyle like the old soldier of the Great War. Alain's life revolves around gaining an overdue promotion. His campaign for advancement is waged first on merit and then by subtle forms of blackmail as he learns more and more about what is really going on. Eventually, he reaches a decision point - will he go on to achieve his ambition or will he choose to expose the pomposity and corruption of an enemy? Alain's 'Third Way' brings the movie to a truly stunning conclusion.
|The Stalin Conspiracy:|
1. Oppression & Retribution
2. Tyranny Regained
[I. Dostovensko, 1995, 205 mins.]
This reconstructed 'director's cut' of what is rapidly becoming a cult movie is being shown in its full glory on 2 successive evenings with the full, original orchestral score. The 'world rock music' of the as-released soundtrack has been entirely discarded
The screenplay sketches Joseph Stalin's attempts to exterminate the Red Army's officer corps and all other opponents of the Communist Party and the Soviet Union at large. The film proper opens with the run-up to the successful military coup in April, 1939, when Stalin was arrested, rushed to summary execution and replaced by the first of a series of 4 lookalikes.
Assassination attempts against the Soviet 'dictator' created periods of tension and terror for the army officers who were ruling through their figurehead. Two plots by the Germans and another by the Americans were all too successful, hence the need for 4 lookalikes. It was a third German plot in 1953 which ended the charade. The conclusion of the history is a triumph of crisis management over stupidity and plain cock-ups.
Created for Romiley Arts Federation by HTSP Web Division. © RAF, 2002