Click here to learn more about anamorphic widescreen!
Go to the Home Page
Go to The Rumor Mill
Go to Todd Doogan's weekly column
Go to the Reviews Page
Go to the Trivia Contest Page
Go to the Upcoming DVD Artwork Page
Go to the DVD FAQ & Article Archives
Go to our DVD Links Section
Go to the Home Theater Forum for great DVD discussion
Find out how to advertise on The Digital Bits

Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 5/14/99

The Complete Uncensored Private Snafu
1990 (1999) - Bosko Video (Image)

review by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits

The Complete Uncensored Private Snafu Program Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): C-/C+/F

Specs and Features

130 mins, NR, B&W, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, Snapper case packaging, film-themed menu screens, scene access (31 chapters), languages: English (DD 1.0 mono), subtitles: none

Students of history will know what the acronym SNAFU means - Situation Normal All Fu**ed Up! And such was often the case with good old Private Snafu - you can always count on Snafu to mess things up, but good.

The Snafu character was created by legendary film director Frank Capra, to serve as a way of educating the troops during World War II. Under the supervision of Capra, Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Suess) and others, a whole series of animated shorts were commissioned between 1943 and 1946, using the Snafu character, from Warner Brothers and other Hollywood studio animation departments. Some of the greatest animation talent of the day was involved in these shorts, including the legendary Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and Frank Tashlin. When completed, the cartoons were added to newsreel films, and were shown to Allied soldiers overseas.

The whole idea of the shorts, was to inform war-weary troops of things they needed to know in a light-hearted way, such as the need to keep secrets, the importance of maintaining your equipment, and what people were up to back on the homefront. Given the humor of the shorts, and the misadventures Snafu got into, the character quickly became a favorite of Allied soldiers. Nearly 30 of the shorts were created, and all of them are presented together on this DVD.

The video quality on this disc leaves something to be desired. Considering that you're looking at 50-year-old newsreel shorts, it's pretty good, but the presentation leaves something to be desired. The videotape source used to master this DVD appears to have "tearing" and video head tracking problems. You'll occasionally notice this creeping into the visible picture area on the top and bottom of the frame. To deal with this problem, an electronic gray box has been laid over the video, hiding the problem, but reducing the size of the visible picture to an area smaller than your TV screen size. Also, the content is owned by Bosko Video, who licensed it to Image for DVD, and apparently Bosko is the kind of company that spends all day worrying about video piracy. In every single short, they briefly flash their annoying Bosko Video logo in the corner. I really hate this practice - REALLY hate this practice. Still, these drawbacks aside, once you get into the program, the disc is entirely watchable. And the audio, which is in the original mono, is clean and adequate.

The Complete Uncensored Private Snafu isn't for everyone. At the time these shorts were created, they were definitely pushing the line in terms of what was appropriate for film. Shown ONLY to soldiers, they feature the occasional "hell" or "damn", and even have brief bits of nudity (tame by current standards of course). And keep in mind that this was wartime - there are portrayals of Japanese, German and Italian characters, that are definitely offensive by today's standards. But if you're a student of World War II history, wartime cinema, or classic animation, this disc will likely become an indispensable addition to your collection. Just one word of advice... beware the Technical Fairy, 1st Class!

Bill Hunt
[email protected]

E-mail the Bits!

Don't #!@$ with the Monkey! Site designed for 800 x 600 resolution, using 16M colors and .gif 89a animation.
© 1997-2015 The Digital Bits, Inc., All Rights Reserved.
[email protected]