Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 7th, 2015
BluRay released: December 8th, 2015
Approximate running time: 165 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS HD Stereo English
BluRay Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95
The Germans notorious sixth army who had never lost a battle would arrive in Stalingrad in August of 1942 and for the next six months they would be engaged in one of World War 2’s bloodiest battles. The Germans would make great progress before ultimately being boxed in from all sides by the Russians’. Adolf Hitler was determined to conquer Stalingrad a town which was named after Russia’s current leader and he was willing to achieve his goal at any cost. The battle for Stalingrad would rage on until February of 1943 when the Russians finally overpowered the weakened German army.
This documentary about the events of Stalingrad is broken up into three parts The Attack, The Kessel, and The Doom. Each segment runs about fifty five minutes in length. What makes this documentary so unique is that it is told from the perspectives of both the Germans and the Russians’ instead of a one side recollection that plagues many similar documentaries. The filmmakers’ do an excellent job of mixing archive footage with interviews’ of the renaming German and Russian survivors’.
Equally impressive is how both sides have been given a chance to tell their stories without being censored or having their words distorted. It is these stories many which are just heartbreaking that make this documentary so compelling. Hearing some of the stories war is like hell of Earth. The Russians and Germans would kill their own men who refused to fight. Hitler in his stubbornness all about abandon nearly a half of million troops. There are many nightmarish tales like these told through out this documentary. The filmmakers besides giving us the viewer a well rounded view via interviews also lay out the rest of the story via archive and CGI created footage. Overall Stalingrad is a powerful piece of filmmaking.
Stalingrad comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The new interviews’ where shots in HD and look spectacular while the rest of footage is made up of archival/stock and these segments vary in quality. The end result is well authored disc and when compared to previous home video releases this new release greatly improves image clarity and black levels. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression.
All of the extras included from Synpase Films previous release for this film have been carried over for this release. And the extras are, Recollections: Deleted Interview Segments (17 minutes 18 seconds, in Russian with English subtitles), a video interview with Dr. Guido Knopp (11 minutes 14 seconds, in German with English subtitles) who discusses the battle of Stalingrad and Stalingrad Today: Views of the City of Volograd (3 minutes 3 seconds) this segment takes a modern day look at the city that was once Stalingrad.
Overall another solid Blu-Ray upgrade from Synapse Films.