Judge Roman Martel is a defender of the realm of apple turnovers.
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."—Winston Churchill
Defending the Realm: The Battle of Britain features David Jason (A Touch of Frost) investigating one of the key battles of World War II, one that took place over the skies of Britain in the summer of 1940. The Germans had taken the bulk of Europe and were poised to begin the invasion of Britain, but to do that they needed air superiority.
Hitler was determined to destroy the Royal Air Force with sheer numbers and superior aircraft, but the people of Britain rallied and fought back, taking heavy casualties to both men and machines. This was the first major campaign of the war to be fought entirely by air forces, and yet many people contributed to Britian's victory. Defending the Realm makes sure every aspect of this amazing battle is covered…which is what ultimately proves its undoing.
Clocking in at a scant 48 minutes, we don't get much in-depth information on anything. Instead, Defending the Realm provides a nice overview of the battle, covering key dates, the use of radar, and the role of the Royal Observer Corps. David Jason also sits down with war veterans—and not just pilots, but mechanics, control room personnel, and Observer Corps members—allowing them to tell stories.
In support of these interviews, Defending the Realm utilizes a mix of archival footage, historical documents, and site visits (by land and air). Many of the decommissioned airfields and bunkers still exist and David Jason takes us through them with a historian on hand to answer questions. The key point here is the Battle of Britain was won not just by pilots and planes, but the dedication and perseverance of countless others on the ground.
Presented in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the visual quality shows off the beautiful English countryside and great arial shots of still flying vintage Spitfires. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo is a functional mix, adequately supporting this talky release. There are no bonus features.
Defending the Realm: The Battle of Britain is nice little documentary, perfect for use in schools. It's always great to hear veterans tell their stories, and this particular battle had more than its fair share.
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