BFS Video // 2004 // 168 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 23rd, 2011
As if things weren't bad enough...
...what with the bombs and the war-tearing and all, the British homefront was apparently a den of criminals and thieves and scumbags as well. Crimes on the British Front tells a lesser-known story of World War II history and at first glance, I have to confess, the topic didn't grab me right away. Crimes? On the British home front? Huh.
Turns out, there's some rich history to be mined in this time period. While cities lay in rubble, some prime law-breaking opportunities presented themselves and the shady element sprung into action, working their looting, theft, racketeering and many other assorted unsavory skills.
The documentary is divided into seven parts and directed by Peter Williams. What makes it all work are the stories and how they're told. During wartime, society broke down in a big way and the documentary shows how people were often in survival mode 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (This is my favorite quote from the disc case: "The German Luftwaffe blasted the buildings of Britain's cities into rubble, creating an ideal hiding place for homicide victims." Sweet.)
Telling these stories are history experts and, most importantly, people who actually experienced the craziness first-hand. These interviews with the folks who were there? Compelling. Very compelling. They bring the reality of those times to life and really personalize the goings-on. Supplementing the interviews is authentic video footage.
So, recommended for history buffs, especially World War II fans looking for some untold stories.
The DVDs: full frame, 2.0 stereo, no extras.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 168 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated