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Directed by Val Guest
UK 1959

 

The British World War II drama Yesterday's Enemy (1959) was tagged in its home country as "the most controversial...ever filmed," largely because it took the unprecedented step of suggesting the British were not always honorable in combat. A brigade, cut off from its main division in the Burmese jungle in 1942, comes upon a small force of Japanese holed up in a remote village. The British troops defeat their enemy, discovering an important top-secret map on the body of a slain Japanese commander. Suspecting one of the villagers secretly knows more about the map than he will tell, the brigade commander begins to execute innocent villagers to force a confession from the person in question, an act that draws horrified condemnation from the brigade's chaplain and a war correspondent embedded with the British troops. When the commander and his men get the information and try to return it to headquarters, they are captured by Japanese soldiers, and suffer the same treatment as the villagers.

Yesterday's Enemy was nominated for four British Academy (BAFTA) Awards, including two for director Val Guest for Best British Film and Best Film from Any Source. Stanley Baker received a BAFTA Best Actor nomination for his performance as the brigade leader, as did Gordon Jackson as Sgt. MacKenzie. Breaking with the screen tradition of stiff-upper-lip gentlemen officers, Baker's Captain Langford is willing to commit war crimes for the success of his mission, and although he is often cruel to his own men and unwavering in his unpleasant and unpopular decisions, he will also risk his life to save his troops.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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The underappreciated and adult World War Two drama Yesterday’s Enemy was Hammer Film Productions’ fourth serious look at a conflict that had only concluded fourteen years before. It followed on the heels of The Steel Bayonet (1957), the hysterical and racist The Camp on Blood Island (1958) and the taut but highly compromised Ten Seconds to Hell (1959). Val Guest contributed direction to a Hammer film for the eighth occasion, illustrating that in the 1950’s at least he was the British companies most prolific director.

Excerpt from The Celluloid Highway located HERE

 

 Posters

 

Theatrical Release:  July 11th, 1959

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Review: Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Presently only available as part of Indicator's Hammer Vol 3 - Blood And Terror - Limited Edition Blu Ray Set:

    

 

Distribution Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:34:41.634
Video

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,217,056,796 bytes

Feature: 28,044,531,264 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1057 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1057 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

 

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,217,056,796 bytes

Feature: 28,044,531,264 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• The Guardian Interview with Val Guest (2005): archival audio recording of the celebrated filmmaker in conversation with Jonathan Rigby at London’s National Film Theatre
• Total War - Inside 'Yesterday's Enemy' (24:58) One of 4 new, title-specific documentaries, written and directed by Hammer expert Marcus Hearn, narrated by Claire Louise Amias and featuring film historians Alan Barnes and Jonathan Rigby
• Hammer’s Women (2018): new profiles of Edwina Carroll by Becky Booth (07:52)
• Stephen Laws Introduces ‘Yesterday’s Enemy’ (2018): a concise appreciation by the acclaimed horror author (08:03)
• New Territory (2018): an analysis of Yesterday's Enemy by British-film expert Professor Steve Chibnall (12:50)
• Frontline Dispatches (2018): second assistant director Hugh Harlow and props chargehand Peter Allchorne recall their time working on Yesterday's Enemy (08:04)
• Original theatrical trailer (02:42)
• Image galleries: promotional photography and publicity material
• Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklets for each film, with new essays by Kim Newman, Neil Mitchell, James Oliver and Samm Deighan, archival cast and crew interviews, original pressbook extracts, contemporary critical reviews, and film credits
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• World premieres on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition Box Set of 6,000 numbered units


Blu-ray
Release Date: July 30th, 2018
Custom Blu-ray box

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: (July 2018) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray: Indicator bring us the anti-war hammer effort, Yesterday's Enemy on a dual layered Blu-ray with a maxed out bitrate. There is a certain softness to the 1080P image, with detail being a little fuzzy. That being said, this transfer has a nice amount of contrast and grain, with little to no damage visible in the frame. This is a strong transfer of a weak source (possibly the only existing one) and it has no visible tinkering to my eye.

Indicator include the film's original 1.0 Mono 24-bit DTS-HD soundtrack. There is no score for this film, giving the film a certain vérité feeling although some will recognize Franz Reizenstein's Burma March. There are many wonderful silent sequences also, where we hear only sounds of the jungle as the tension builds to an explosion of gunfire. There are optional English SDH subtitles on this region-free
Blu-ray.

We are given the option of watching the film in its original uncensored "UK Theatrical version" or the "US Theatrical version" which contains toned-down dialogue. There also the option of watching acclaimed horror author Stephen Laws introduce the film. This introduction lasts about 8-minutes. Indicator have included a 2005 audio-interview with Val Guest conducted by Jonathan Rigby. The interview was taken at the National Film Theatre in London before and after a screening of 'Hell is a City'. As a title card warns, there are a range of technical problems with the recording but for the most part, the discussion is clear enough. This audio feature plays over the main feature and lasts about 45-minutes. "Total War: Inside 'Yesterday's Enemy'" is a 25-minute extra written and directed by Hammer expert Marcus Hearn, narrated by Claire Louise Amias and featuring film historians Alan Barnes and Jonathan Rigby. This disc's "Hammer's Women" spotlight is on Edwina Carroll. In this 8-minute extra, Becky Booth profiles the life and work of Carroll. Next up is "New Territory", a 13-minute feature where British-film expert, Professor Steve Chibnall, offers an analysis of the film. Following this is the 8-minute "Frontline Dispatches", where second assistant director Hugh Harlow and props chargehand Peter Allchorne recall their time working on the film. Indicator have also included the film's trailer and an image gallery with promotional photography and publicity material. Each film in this set has a 40-page booklet featuring various essays, archival cast and crew interviews, original pressbook extracts, contemporary critical reviews, and film credits.

Indicator have given us a great package here in this Hammer Volume 3 set, and "Yesterday's Enemy" is certainly an exemplary disc. Though the image can look a little soft, the contrast is wonderful. This is a powerful film that was unknown to me before this release. Indicator continues to consistently release quality products with great transfers and useful extras. This
Blu-ray is recommended to fans of war films. 

Colin Zavitz

 

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Presently only available as part of Indicator's Hammer Vol 3 - Blood And Terror - Limited Edition Blu Ray Set:

    

 

Distribution Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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