This is a strange DVD to recommend heartily, considering how poorly the main feature has held up. Mrs. Miniver (1942) was a multiple Oscar winner that may well have helped firm up American solidarity with the British in the first year of American combat in World War II. It was made by one of Hollywood's greatest directors, had a top cast and a script that was the product of four major authors, and it utilized the best facilities of what was then the biggest of all the studios, MGM. The Warner Home Video DVD looks as good and as handsome as one might expect it would -- much sharper than the old MGM/UA laserdisc, without any of that format's playback anomalies, and also costing far less (and loaded with bonus features). It's impossible to complain about any of the technical aspects of the DVD, except for the audio, which is mastered at a very low level. The movie itself is another matter. At the best of times, Mrs. Miniver anticipates director William Wyler's much more effective dramatic scenes in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), while other scenes -- most notably the confrontation between Kay Miniver (Greer Garson) and a downed German flyer -- are beautifully played and suspenseful. But, through much of the film, Wyler and the cast are too weighed down trying to emphasize the movie's Englishness (in its characterizations and setting) and tell a story (intended for American eyes) that showcases the notion that every class of British society was in the war and fighting. It all becomes very tiresome, watching Wyler and company operating in second gear (or on seven cylinders) because of the artificial, message-laden script; it's like watching Wyler trying to work with one eye blindfolded, and he only finds his footing in about half of the movie. Interestingly, in the domestic scenes, he finds one common element with The Best Years of Our Lives (and the characters played in that film by Fredric March and Myrna Loy), in the obvious relish with which he depicts the middle-aged couple (Greer Garson/Walter Pidgeon) here as still being passionately in love with each other and very obviously still enjoying a healthy sex life. The other half of the story -- the self-consciously British half -- is as bad (or good, but nothing special) as any less-than-first-rate propaganda drama of the period. It's fifty percent of a good movie, with a lot of binding material lacking. What makes the disc distinctly more worthwhile than the movie are the extras. MGM produced some good propaganda shorts, and two of them are here. Mr. Blabbermouth is an anti-defeatist short subject with a strongly comic edge, reminiscent of the Pete Smith specialty films, and a good morale-boosting tone. It's nicely and cleverly put together, and even though it stretches the truth at times in the name of keeping morale high, it's a lot less inaccurate than anything the Germans were being fed by their film industry. Curiously, it does leave out the one factor about American industry that even the highest levels of the German intelligence and military communities feared, in terms of bringing the United States into the war -- that as of 1940, 11 years into the Great Depression with industrial activity crippled for a decade, there were still more precision machine tools in the United States than there were in the whole rest of the world combined. The other short, For the Common Defense, was part of the studio's superb "Crime Doesn't Pay" series. It tells of the breaking up of a German espionage and sabotage ring in Latin America with help from the Chilean police, and emphasizes inter-American cooperation. It's suspenseful and includes a fair amount of violence for the period, as well as being reasonably well acted. Indeed, there was enough good here that the same story, in the hands of another studio such as, say, RKO, this scenario would have been the basis for a solid 75-minute B-movie. The funny thing is, that makes it sort of the opposite of Mrs. Miniver, which was adapted from a flabby script that never realized what potential it did have. For those who really care about the latter, there is newsreel footage of Garson accepting her Oscar with a very emotional speech (of legendary length) and the original release trailer, which is a reminder of just how special the movie did seem in 1942. There's also a still photo array from the movie. The whole package is well designed, the disc opening on a simple two-layer menu that is easy to maneuver around, including the special features. Everything is transferred full-screen (1.33:1), with beautiful sharpness and clarity. The language selection includes optional French audio and subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.