Steve Simels
June 07, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Director Simon Wincer and cinematographer Dean Semler have gone Hollywood in a major way (Wincer made The Phantom, Semler shot Waterworld), but The Lighthorsemen, their World War I Aussies-versus-Germans epic, is something else again. Visually flashy yet deeply felt, it’s the kind of labor of love associated with much quieter movies. This new disc marks the movie’s debut in the letterboxed format (essential for the panoramic battle scenes) and restores 14 minutes cut from the American theatrical release. There’s also a truly amazing bonus: spectacular footage from a 1940 Australian version of the same story, which proves something few Americans hitherto suspected — that there actually was an Australian film industry in 1940. A

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