Overlord (Z Channel Presents)
DIRECTOR: STUART COOPER
An awesome docu-drama portrayal of men at war, made possible by Cooper’s being given full access to the little-seen archives of the Imperial War Museum and their reams of World War II footage shot by British and German soldiers. Period footage seamlessly meshes with new material that tells the story of a freshly-conscripted recruit, shot with vintage lenses by Barry Lyndon DP John Alcott. The film’s champions included Stanley Kubrick and Harvey, and following the success of Z Channel it was finally given a proper release.
Original Z Channel Notes:
"The 'Z' Channel is proud to present the U.S. premiere of Overlord.
Rather than tackle film in his native America, director Stuart Cooper followed the lead of expatriate Stanley Kubrick and went to England to make his first feature, Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs, which won a runner-up award at the 1974 Berlin Film Festival. The next year Cooper’s second film Overlord captured the Silver Bear at the 1975 Berlin Film Festival.
Shot in black and white by Oscar-winning cinematographer John Alcott (Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange) to incorporate actual World War II footage, Overlord provides great insight into the indoctrination of a British recruit named Tom. The film opens with the image of a soldier’s death and is followed by a careful analysis of Tom and his motivations from the Battle of Britain to the D-day invasion. The brunt of Tom’s inner struggle is presented during his brief training period.
Although, to date, Overlord has not been released here, the film has received quite a bit of critical attention.
Daily Variety : '. . . a vastly different, semidocumentary anti-war item which, while a doubtful entry for commercial houses due to its restrictive and downbeat subject matter, is a natural for vid exposure, where its nicely underplayed style, skillful blending of ably selected stock war footage . . . and functional 85-minute running time are all plus points.'
Films and Filming called Overlord '. . . an extremely fine piece of filmmaking' and the International Film Guide described it as “one of the most original and affecting British films since It Happened Here.
Incidentally, the title of the film can be seen to have two meanings. “Overlord” was the code word for the D-Day invasion, an event depicted in the film, but on a more metaphorical level, the term speaks of leaders in high places whose decisions control the destinies of individuals.
We would like to thank Ben Benjamin for making this event—2 by Stuart Cooper—possible."