The Battle of Britain SE in May

MGM Home Entertainment have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of The Battle of Britain - Special Edition for 24th May 2004 with a retail price of £19.99. The first of two classic war films released on new special edition DVDs to coincide with the 60th anniversary of D-Day comes from director Guy Hamilton and features a stellar cast including Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Robert Shaw, Susannah York and Edward Fox. The Battle of Britain is the amazing true story of how the Royal Air Force outnumbered by the German Luftwaffe managed to overcome insurmountable odds and win the battle of the air in World War II.

Arriving on a new two-disc special edition DVD with restored picture and sound it also includes, for the first time, Sir William Walton’s original score, which was composed and then not used in its entirety on the final film…until now.

Sir William Walton composed the original music for the 1969 classic production but it is thought that the brevity of his score was a determining factor in its rejection by the studios. Instead, the studios commissioned the composer Ron Goodwin to write a new score for the film. The only piece of Walton’s score used in its entirety in the film was the famous Battle in the Air sequence.

The recording of the original Walton score was then lost for many years until the assistant music editor Timothy Gee, one of the last surviving crew members, decided to track it down. He has subsequently told us how disappointed the director; cast and crew were that the film would not be seen with the Walton score.

Miraculously the score, made up from three reels, was recovered in recording engineer Eric Tomlinson’s damp garage where it had been stored until 1990.

Gee then worked closely with MGM to restore Walton’s soundtrack to its original glory in time for the Special Edition releases, and now for the very first time The Battle of Britain can be watched and enjoyed with Walton’s stirring score.

This very special release should bring pleasure to admirers of the work of Goodwin and Walton and quality film music in general.

The 2-disc Special Edition DVD release includes the following extras:

  • Recollections of an R.A.F Squadron Leader featurette
  • Authenticity in the Air featurette
  • A Film For The Few – Making of featurette with Guy Hamilton, Michael Caine, Susannah York, Christopher Plummer and Bernard Williams
  • Battle For The Battle Of Britain documentary
  • Images From The Sky animated photo gallery
  • Audio Commentary by director Guy Hamilton, Bernard Williams and Paul Annet
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • William Walton Score in 5.1 DTS
  • A Bridge Too Far Special Edition DVD Trailer

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