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:
  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray
  • Digital
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

7 reviews
 
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Overall rating
 
9.1
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0(7)
Visual Editing
 
9.7(7)
Audio Editing
 
9.7(7)
Narrative
 
8.6(7)
Enjoyment
 
8.9(7)
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Overall rating
 
10.0
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10.0
What a brilliant combination of the two movies. Eldusto seamlessly weaves the two narrative together by having the tension and action from Dunkirk and the emotion and drama from Darkest Hour truly enhancing both movies. imo Dunkirk was a little overrated for me there wasn't that character element for me to care like 1917 but having Churchill's story play alongside Dunkirk's event helped make you feel more invested and rooting for their escape. Also that ending montage was terrific. This edit will be an easy replacement over both the two theatrical versions.

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Digital
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Overall rating
 
9.1
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
I’ve only seen the b/w version.

This edit combining two wonderful films does drag a little in some places because of the cutting between, and hence the pacing of each movie is messed with a little (they both are marvelous films individually in basically every aspect). But I am glad I watched this edit. I did quite enjoy it and loved seeing it in b/w. Seeing the same conflict from both of these angles at the same time was definitely something I’d been looking for. Will I revisit this? Yes. Will I revisit the original films more? Yes. But this edit has many remarkable aspects to it, such as the ending montage as mentioned by some others here.

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Yes
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Blu-Ray
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Overall rating
 
10.0
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10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
I hate seeing a review with perfect 10s because I always think "that can't possibly be a PERFECT film", however, I just can't justify taking a star rating off anywhere. I could quibble about how effective this narrative is, but the fact is it's a masterful piece of editing that brings both films to an emotional climax that neither fully managed on its own. I could nitpick about wanting the films to be intercut more, but where is there actually an organic place to do that early in Dunkirk? I could say that this isn't my most enjoyed movie ever, so no "10", but I DID enjoy it more than either of the original films. In the end, this is simply the only way I'll rewatch either of these, so despite any slight complaints, I have to give this full marks all around.

So what is lost compared to the original films? Well, for the most part, not much that you'll miss. (Some SPOILERS for each film necessary from here on...) The beginning of this film is heavier with scenes from Darkest Hour, setting up the mess that Churchill inherited, and the pressure he faced to surrender and give up on the lives of Britain's soldiery. That film is thematically focused on his efforts to find just the right words to persuade people and inspire them in...ahem...their darkest hour. To this end, it goes to great pains to show how he relied on both his wife and personal secretary to keep grounded and hopeful. While it is unfortunate that many of those scenes are lost (along with the questionable 'Churchill take the Tube' scene), honestly they just flesh out the film and are not the strongest elements. The theme of the power of Churchill's exact words is kind of sublimated in this cut, but really the speeches stand on their own so it works in the time given.

As this film goes on, it relies more and more on Dunkirk footage, focusing on the struggles to get the soldiers evacuated and off the beach. The contributions of both the citizen Navy and the British air support play out linearly here, which works better imho. Not a whole lot feels lost from Dunkirk actually, excepting for the subplot of the French soldier. I did rather miss the reveal that he was not simply an astonishingly quiet lad, as all the hints are still present, but it's understandable that it would distract from the new, joined narrative. To me, Dunkirk's theme was actually in how all of Britain rallied and did their part, a sort of tribute to the stoic, modest, head-down courageousness of the average citizenry. But whereas in a film like The Hobbit series, that theme is beat to death with swelling music and incessant speeches, it got rather lost in all the tense drama of Dunkirk. Here, it's actually improved and brought out more strongly through being intercut with Churchill's speeches and a linearly-building narrative.

When you put these films together, it's plain that the stronger elements are in Dunkirk. I quite like Joe Wright and composer Dario Marianelli, but Nolan and Zimmer are just operating on a-whole-nother level. However, their work in Dunkirk could actually get overwhelming. The combination of the four artists here alternates between tension and pressure, physical and psychological, so that the end result is more keenly felt. The whole affair looks and sounds stunning, with much of Zimmer's score being used, but toned down a bit so as to not drown out dialogue. There is both a color and black & white version of this available, and I think I have to give the slight edge to the B&W. The two films have significantly different color grades, and while the regrading work on this edit is great, the B&W just ties it together perfectly and the lighting looks so crisp and impressive that way.

All in all, I was very impressed with this edit. At the beginning, it feels like we're watching a little too much of each film without cutting back to the other, really feeling like two separate movies. However, the intercutting picks up and is more artfully done as the story goes on, leading to one of the most impressive endings of a fan-edit I've ever seen. I do miss the character exploration of Darkest Hour, and the unending tension of Dunkirk, but I wasn't keen to rewatch either. This combination keeps the best of both, and has become my preferred way to rewatch. I highly recommend seeking it out.

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(Updated: February 09, 2021)
Overall rating
 
7.2
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
Narrative
 
6.0
Enjoyment
 
6.0
I'm gonna have to echo the previous review in affirming that it was only natural to think these consecutive narratives would fare so well interwoven together, but that this was probably not the ideal way to do it.

The pacing and tone is just all over the place. Even though the gorgeous cinematography of both films is quite complementary, the edit shifts too unceremoniously from burlesque to gritty, from verbose to atmospheric, from larger-than-life caricatures to anonymous faces. Huge chunks of expository dialogue are followed by endless sequences of minimalistic void. Not because the cuts are any jarring (they certainly are not), but because the narrative doesn't seem to follow any rearragement other than linearity. Changes of such nature can, of course, be originally employed to give some depth to any feature, and its something also expected to some degree in mashups like this. But it felt here like the films were constantly striving to give each other context, rather than playing out like a single narrative. I also wondered why some of the subplots were left intact (like Halifax and Chamberlain), when they were clearly dragging the pace and making these aforementioned tonal shifts obvious.

AV quality is great, looked and sounded pretty good. Also a great montage at the opening credits.

Thank you Mr. Lee / MapleFilms for satiating the curiosity of many fans like myself in seeing the inevitable feat of these films mixed together.

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(Updated: October 19, 2020)
Overall rating
 
7.3
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10.0
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8.0
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8.0
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6.0
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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.

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