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Ghost Canyon

'World War II - When Lions Roared' (Mini-Series)
(Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, John Lithgow, et al / DVD / NR / 2016 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: At the Tehran and Yalta Conferences, the strong personalities of three of the world’s most powerful leaders threaten their fragile alliance. This riveting historical drama portrays the precarious relationship between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at the pivotal moments when the final strategies of the war hung in the balance.

DVD Verdict: This very rarely seen gem is the brainchild of Hoskins, Caine, and other financial sources who thought it a good thing to present the political realities of World War II in the form of a close up drama. The result, if you are lucky enough to find this film is your own private play available in the comfort of your living room. It goes without saying that the cast is spectacular, or should I say the film was spectacularly cast.

Hoskins delivers perhaps the best Churchill as I've ever seen. Audiences might recall that he also portrays another giant of contemporary history, Nikita Krushchev in Jean-Jacques Annaud's, "Enemy at the Gates." Likewise, Caine delivers a poignant and striking "Uncle Joe." As for Lithgow, I am amazed at how much he looks like F.D.R. in makeup, when in real life he looks nothing like Roosevelt.

His performance is also excellent. My favorite scene involving Lithgow is when he is receiving very dire news from his allies and they wonder if the U.S.A. can provide just a little more aid per month. Lithgow interrupts the request and deadpans, "double it," invoking the limitless pocketbook of American resources.

Normally, I abhor the use of films as educational tools for high school students. I will make an exception with this film. This is not an action packed, mindlessly scripted, Hollywood explosion fest. On the contrary, this is more akin to watching an Arthur Miller play, with the exception that the script in this one in non-fiction. I do not pretend that a high schooler will walk away from this epic with a complete knowledge of World War II. On the contrary, hopefully he or she will be left with more questions than answers. I do hope they realize that the Allied cause was a full partnership between the Big Three.

Anyway, watch this gem of a film, no re-released by Mill Creek Entertainment for yourselves today - it will be the best thing you do for yourself, your brain this weekend, trust me. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.