Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 8th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Germany, 2003
Director: Sebastian Dehnhardt, Christian Deick, Jörg Müllner
DVD released: June 27th, 2006
Approximate running time: 112 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTsc
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 is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. 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. Most of the rarer footage used while it looks pretty ruff it is more then watch able. There are no problems with compression, artifacts or edge enhancement.
This release comes with one audio option an English dubbed audio language track which is present here in a Dolby Digital stereo. This audio mix sounds crystal clear as there are no problems with hiss, distortion or any other sound defects.
Extras for this release include about seventeen minute’s that was deleted from various interviews’ included in main feature and these interview excerpts are all in their native tongues and subtitled for in English for this release. Other extras include an interview with Professor Dr. Guido Knopp who discusses the battle of Stalingrad. Rounding out the extras is a brief three minute segment titled “Stalingrad Today – Views of the City of Volograd” which is basically a modern day look at the city that was once Stalingrad.
Stalingrad is an amazing documentary that would make an excellent companion piece with Triumph of the Will which is also available from Synapse Films. Stalingrad is one of the most significant battles waged in World War 2 and now the story as told by those who have survived can be finally heard via Synapse Films invaluable special edition DVD, highly recommended.