Finest Hour: A Supercut of Dunkirk and Darkest Hour

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Finest Hour: A Supercut of Dunkirk and Darkest Hour
Faneditor Name:
Tagline:
Two films. One story.
Original Movie Title:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
2017
Original Running Time:
120
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
155
Time Added:
35
Available in HD?
Brief Synopsis:
The year is 1940. As Hitler’s forces storm across Europe, Winston Churchill is elected the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. His leadership is immediately tested when hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops become trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, with the Germans closing in. As the desperate battle for survival unfolds on land, sea and air, Churchill must fight his own battles to launch a daring rescue effort across the English Channel. This fan edit combines the intense frontline action of Dunkirk with the backroom political intrigue of Darkest Hour, to create an epic supercut that tells the full story of the Dunkirk evacuation
Intention:
Both films are excellent in their own way (they were both nominated for Best Picture) and they complement each other wonderfully because of their overlapping stories and conflicts. This is why I thought it would be a great opportunity to combine these two films into a single narrative
Additional Notes:
In addition to providing a color version of Finest Hour, I have also created a black & white version with added film grain. This is a totally different experience than the color version in my opinion, but it isn't for everyone which is why I am offering both versions. If you're into older war epics from the 50s/60s like The Longest Day, I'd highly recommend the black and white version...the cinematography is stunning in monochrome.
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Special Thanks:
All of Fanedit.org!
Release Information
  • NTSC DVD-5
  • Blu-Ray (BD-50)
  • MP4/M4V/MOV
Special Features
Interactive Menus, Trailer Mashup by Joseph Vargas, Vintage Newsreel Footage of Dunkirk Evacuation, Authentic Recordings of Two Famous Churchill speeches, Black and White version of the feature.
Editing Details:
Dunkirk is around 100 minutes long and Darkest Hour is around 120 minutes long. This edit clocks in around 150 minutes, and slightly favors Dunkirk in terms of footage used. Before I get into specific cuts, the major thing I’d like to mention is that I have completely unwound the non-linear editing structure of Dunkirk. It was a very interesting way to depict three different timelines, but when combined with a completely different narrative (Darkest Hour), it just doesn’t work anymore. This presented the largest challenge for me on this project, since Dunkirk’s score and sound design are so closely intertwined with the film’s editing.

For example, Tom Hardy’s first aerial battle over Mark Rylance’s boat is spread across Dunkirk’s middle runtime and contains several different music cues depending on what other scenes it is intercut with. For my edit, I wanted it to be a single, continuous scene that showed the fight from the air and sea perspective. To do that, I had to piece together the separate shots and determine when they took place chronologically. This made the accompanying music unusable since it jumped all over, but thankfully the center channel of the 5.1 retained the dialogue and SFX by themselves. This allowed me to insert one of Hans Zimmer’s cues from the score and basically lay it over this newly edited scene. I had to take this approach to the entirety of Dunkirk, and it made for a unique but fun challenge.
Cuts and Additions:
Film begins with a credit sequence similar to Darkest Hour. Titles overtop archival WW2 footage, which then transitions to Neville Chamberlain being pushed out as PM.

Many of Darkest Hour's opening scenes have been shuffled around or removed entirely, including the scenes with Churchill at home or anything with his wife and family. They are nice subplots but for the sake of pacing and structure, they don't serve much purpose in Finest Hour.

The opening sequence from Dunkirk is introduced around the 20-minute mark, after Churchill is first briefed on the dire situation in Europe. Dunkirk's opening text screens have been removed.

We cut back and forth between Churchill's war cabinet scenes and the ongoing beach scenes from Dunkirk. Remember, this edit removes the non-linear timeline from Dunkirk, so the "Sea" and "Air" portions don't come into play until later.

A few scenes from Darkest Hour now have Hans Zimmer's score from Dunkirk laid over them, which helps the two films feel more connected.

We are introduced to Mark Rylance and the "Sea" portion of Dunkirk around the 70-minute mark, after Churchill issues the order to requisition civilian boats for the Dunkirk evacuation.

The subplot with Halifax and Chamberlain trying to oust Churchill remains in the edit. Makes for very interesting backroom drama!

Tom Hardy and the "Air" portion of Dunkirk comes into play around the 90-minute mark.

From this point, it's mostly all Dunkirk except in chronological order now. A totally different experience! Even after watching the original film 3-4 times, I still couldn't make sense of some of the changing timeline strands. This edit simplifies that without really losing much dramatic impact, in my opinion.

I edited George's death scene on the boat to a music track by Dario Marianelli from Darkest Hour. It really makes his character stand out more, just having some softer music playing while he talks about wanting to be in the local paper.

King George visits Churchill to encourage him to fight. This scene is more than enough motivation for when he goes before his outer cabinet and rallies his supporters. The London Underground/subway scene has been completely removed.

Several action sequences from Dunkirk have been re-edited and scored due to the original film's non-linear structure.

The film concludes with Churchill giving his "we shall fight on" speech intercut with Dunkirk's ending. I even cut back and forth between Churchill delivering lines alongside Fionn Whitehead's character reading his speech in the paper.
Cover art by eldusto84 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
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Ending

User reviews

3 reviews
Overall rating
 
9.1
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0(3)
Visual Editing
 
9.3(3)
Audio Editing
 
9.3(3)
Narrative
 
8.7(3)
Enjoyment
 
9.0(3)
(Updated: October 19, 2020)
Overall rating
 
7.3
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
8.0
Narrative
 
6.0
Enjoyment
 
7.0
I've watched Darkest hour and Dunkirk quite a few times over the last couple of years. While I do enjoy the acting and the fimlatography of both movies, they certainly have their own styles, which are not for everyone. Despite their accolates from film festivals etc.

Darkest hour come through to me as a slow paced reflection over what is indeed one of the darkest hours in Britains history, when everything was oh-so-close to the very end; To defeat at the hands of Hitler's German forces. The desctrution of the army, and eventually, the country. It starts at the very last part of the descent, right before British fortunes in the war hits rock bottom, and shows the beginning of the turn around, fueled by the peoples will to fight and the leaders (Churchill in particular) who take it uppon themselves to carry out that will, even at the risk to their positions, in Churchills case as prime minister. As well as arguably Churchills greatest achievement in the war: Rescuing the army through a most unusual maritime evacuation.

Dunkirk comes through as a mix of a modern-style war movie (focused on realistic dipiction of the chaos and despair of war), and almost an art movie. It's pacing is, if possible, even slower and it's narrative hazier and less eventful, with short flurries of high tension, and long periods of waiting with a clear undertone of despair and desparation: In a way reflecting the experience of the soldiers waiting to be rescued, and their many moments of fear and dispair at the thought they may not make it home.

When I saw El Dusto and Maple films had made an edit combining the two I thought it would make an excellent opportunity to incorporate the best of both movies, while reshaping the narative to be more swift and focused. An oportunity to tell the two stories together in a more convention movie structure, with a stronger pacing. In my mind to create a more emotional and powerful movie experience. This, however, is not what the edit turned out to be. Instead it seems to try to preserve the narative structure and pacing of the original movies as much as possible. It does it so well that it's almost hard for me to pick out which parts were removed.

The is espceially true for Dunkirk. I feel much of what was removed, like the subplot that one of the two privates we follow throughout the movie is in fact a Frenchman masquerading as English in order to escape, is in no way essential to the plot what so ever and I didn't miss it at all. If anything I feel even more could probably have been cut. I find myself missing more some of the parts removed from the darkest hour however, especially the more refelctive scenes showing everyday life outside the parliament and circles of power. Inclduing Churchills ride in the subway. I feel these scenes added a sense of the world beyond, that is valuable. Especially on an emotional level. But I also understand how removing some of the slowest scenes in the movie can certainly be necessary, especially considering how slow paced Dunkirk is on it's own. And some of the combining of scenes worked surprisingly well, in particular Churchill speaking to the outer cabinet cut to Churhill speaking to the war cabinet, and a the faster paced inter-cutting between the movies towards the end.

I wached to 9.3 GB 1080p .mp4 and the video and audio quality was excellent. I did pick out some compression artifacts in some of the very darkest scenes, in partciular when the king visits Churchill at home at night. But since they were only in the very darkest parts of the frame I doubt most people would ever even notice. Likewise the audio, in particular from Dunkirk, is a bit hazy at times even in the original movie and it is sometimes hard to hear the dialouge, and audio effects added towards the very end of the movie over Churchills speach in particular does make it a little harder to hear what is being said (and could probably have been toned down a little). That said, again I doubt most people would even notice.

Overall: This is not to my mind an ideal way to combine these movies and probably not my ideal version of either.
I will keep watching the original movies as they are. And will consider making my own cut combining them at some point.
But it is an enjoyable experience and is very well done, with excellent audio and video quality and very good craftsmanship in the editing overall. And as such I do recommend it.

User Review

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(Updated: July 30, 2020)
Overall rating
 
10.0
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10.0
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Enjoyment
 
10.0
Okay I have to take a moment and ask @eldusto84 HOW DID YOU DO THIS? It's absolutely incredible. I loved Dunkirk and Darkest Hour as their own films, but I'm stunned how much better they worked as a merged up movie. Cutting out the outside-of-politics Churchill scenes were a little tough given their purpose and great acting in Darkest Hour... but the decision totally works in the context of this WWII focused film. The quality of acting is seamlessly top notch from the direction Joe Wright (Darkest Hour) and Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), working hand in hand with the movies merged up. The editing is sleek with no apparent visual or audio issues. And as noted in a previous review this is now my go-to edit for the Dunkirk story, rather than watch two different movies covering the event. Great job!!

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Yes
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Top 500 Reviewer 20 reviews
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Overall rating
 
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10.0
I love both Dunkirk and The Darkest Hour separately, but this fanedit has been my go-to version of this story on film ever since I first encountered it on Maple Film's site around two years ago. It is an incredible technical achievement and a film that I consider to be a benchmark in how to successfully combine two films into one. 10/10, hard recommend.

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Yes
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