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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Travel > History > Geography > Trains > War > Flight > Airplanes > WWII > The Dawn Of War – The Early Battles Of WWII + Railroads – Tracks Across America + Victory By Air (Mill Creek DVD Sets)

The Dawn Of War – The Early Battles Of WWII + Railroads – Tracks Across America + Victory By Air (Mill Creek DVD Sets)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: D (Railroads: C+)     Compilations/Episodes: B-



Mill Creek has issued much dramatic TV of late, but they have a variety of title types and documentaries are included.  They have issued three more in The Dawn Of War, Railroads – Tracks Across America and Victory By Air.  All are interesting, have rare content to offer and will make those interested pleased they too the time to check into them.


The Dawn Of War and Victory By Air are from the same TV mini-series producers, Pacific Media and Octapixx.  Though a bit dated, produced on analog video and rough at times, the episodes that comprise each (11 for War, 5 for Air) are pretty good, not for those without good attention spans and hold up well enough in the face of so many new, similar productions since.  Those interested in the subject should definitely give them a chance.


Railroads – Tracks Across America starts with a new documentary called America’s Railroad: The Glory Years, which gives a very thorough overview of how the U.S. railroad system was made and how things like The Civil War, battles with Native Americans and technology affected all of it.  This is especially helpful when you follow up that program with the compilation of 35 industrial films on trains (usually produced by the railroad companies themselves, some by the government) that are all interesting, entertaining and more than a few are more informative than expected.  You also see older technology at its best and shots of places, scenery and machines you will never see again.  Train fans will especially want this volume.


The 1.33 X 1 image on the mini-series have detail issues, aliasing errors and some cross-talk and softness inherent to analog NTSC productions, even professional ones.  This extends somewhat to the America’s Railroad program, but the older film short subjects can look really good, but they all show their age in different ways.  Some of the color prints are fading, others looks a little plugged up, but sometimes color can look good, while the black and white shorts all look like they have good silver content even when looking rough.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is dated on the older shorts and a little harsh, low and limited on the newer programs.  You might even want to be careful of playback levels and audio switching.  None of these sets have any extras, but America’s Railroad could count as an extra, so we will include it just in case.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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