DVD GUDERIAN’S TANKS – From Panzer I to Kongistiger. – Review by Mark Barnes

This German film comes with a dry as a bone English narrative, read straight from a very rigid translation of the original without much attempt to finesse it for a fluent speaker. 

Once the narrator puts a cork in it for a bit, the DVD gets properly under way with a quite stunning sequence of beautifully choreographed pre-war propaganda films showing armour, aircraft and much more on exercise. This sort of stuff must have thrilled the cinema audience marvelling at just how powerful the Reich had become. Stirring stuff; indeed.

This leads on to Spain, where Adolf’s big European tour gets underway in a quiet way, as opposed to his later travels; and by the time we whizzed past Poland and dealt with the fall of France I was began to wonder when we would actually see anything of any substance about Guderian or his tanks. Things rumble on with the now ever present painful narration leading us from the Balkans and on to the Soviet Union. The information is probably very interesting, but the thing reminds me of a SatNav, complete with some of those funny place name pronunciations we have come to enjoy. To be honest it is all too much and the overall package is thoroughly spoilt. We even get comedy Russian accents! Resistance is useless.

A film of stunning archive footage, of which there is plenty, does not a classic make. Sympathetic translation and a good deal less misplaced German triumphalism would serve it well if revisions take place. The whole thing becomes surreal. If you want to see it, watch it with the sound off and play a heavy metal album… I recommend anything by AC/DC. For those about to rock, I salute you.

Mark Barnes.

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Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is a longstanding friend of WHO, providing features, photography and reviews. He has contributed to The Times of London and other publications. He is the author of The Liberation of Europe (pub 2016) and If War Should Come due later in 2020.