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Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny

Pic benefits greatly from Ben Kingsley's brilliantly nuanced reading of frankly bombastic narration.

With:
With: Winston S. Churchill, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Celia Sandys, Martin Gilbert.

Richard Trank’s old-fashioned docu “Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny” casts its titular icon as the sole savior of Great Britain, Europe and the free world. Pic benefits greatly from Ben Kingsley’s brilliantly nuanced reading of frankly bombastic narration, and from the cavalcade of well-edited newsreel clips that propel its hindsight-determined story arc. As produced by Moriah Films, a division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, pic has an implicit metaphor — a vision of a lone embattled country courageously prevailing against impossible odds, underscored by frequent quotations from Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion — that should attract Jewish auds on its Oct. 29 release.

To its credit, and perhaps to the disappointment of some, docu never deviates from its central focus; its treatment of the Holocaust is always secondary to its portrait of an unquestionably great statesman. Swell footage of some 300,000 Allied troops under heavy bombardment on the beaches of Dunkirk, improbably rescued by a motley British fleet of battleships, destroyers, yachts and fishing trawlers, loses none of its pathos over time; viewers can readily comprehend the galvanizing effect of this Churchillian maneuver on England’s resolve to stubbornly resist Nazi rule.

Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny

Documentary

Production: A Moriah Films production in association with the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. Produced by Rabbi Marvin Hier, Richard Trank. Co-producer, Katrin Osmialowski. Directed, written by Richard Trank, from original written material by Trank, Marvin Hier.

Crew: Camera (B&W/color, HD), Jeffrey Victor, editor, Nimrod Erez; music, Lee Holdridge. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Oct. 26, 2010. Running time: 101 MIN.

With: With: Winston S. Churchill, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Celia Sandys, Martin Gilbert.

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