“ [The Making of the Crew of the Dora] provides a vivid and convincing account not only of the atmosphere, day-to-day routines, and problems associated with filmmaking (esp. location work) close to the fronts of WW2, but also of the anxieties and difficulties associated with getting the project approved in the first place. Your well-chosen, sparingly inserted explanatory notes and images really bring the “making of” to life. The way in which you have identified the people (from the world of film as well as the military establishment) associated with Ritter is a genuine proof of your commitment to the project, as is your deciphering and transfer of the Sütterlin-German into readable English – a genuine achievement!!! Congratulations!!! The book presents a convincing and genuine portrait of Karl Ritter the man. Really a book you can be proud of. “ --- A film historian and scholar, living in Europe, who has published books on NS film over the years, who wishes to remain anonymous.
“Dear William Gillespie,
Heartiest congratulations on the publication of BESATZUNG DORA. This is quite an achievement and how commendable that you have access to Karl Ritter’s diary and the family photo collection. A real contribution to history. I could not put the book down and enjoyed reading it immensely.....
Sadly, I am asking you to keep my remarks private. It is no fun being called a 'fascist.' I know that you will understand. I wish you great success with the book.” --- A retired Professor Emeritus in the USA, who has written extensively on NS propaganda and ideology, who wishes to remain anonymous.
"The Making of The Crew of the Dora does not fundamentally change our view of how films were made in Nazi Germany. It does, however, provide an unprecedented behind-the-scenes account of how one film was made, on a day-to-day basis. The development of the script (which had to be authorised by the Armed Forces High Command), the selection of the actors/actresses, the film people Karl Ritter met and the other films he viewed or was involved in (as a producer).... The book is filled with details of great interest to any student of ‘Third Reich’ cinema. Ritter’s description of his living and working conditions in military camps in occupied France and in the Soviet Union are also relevant for historians not particularly interested in cinema history." –The Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television, September 2016. (Review by Prof. Roel vande Winkel.)
Dear William Gillespie,
I've never expected that a book would be written devoted solely to that technically very interesting Karl Ritter movie, "Besatzung Dora", and that it would be written not in German but English language. Can't wait to read the full manuscript.
It looks like the definitive book on that topic and maybe on its director. --- A German film historian who has published extensively on NS cinema, who wishes to remain anonymous.
" With his 2012 published biography Karl Ritter. His Life and 'Zeitfilms' under National Socialism (2nd edition: 2014), Gillespie presented a standard work on one of the most systematic filmmakers of the Nazi era. In these diaries, The Making of The Crew of the Dora is also based on the following: Gillespie portrays his production on the basis of Ritter's diaries and, at the same time, presents the upcoming press campaign for the film's application. As a German reader, one is confronted with mixed feelings about the result, which is similar in large parts to a collection of sources: on the one hand, one must recognize the author's merit in making the otherwise inaccessible primary sources available; On the other hand, it is inevitably regrettable to find it abbreviated and translated into English. For the time being, it is only to be hoped that Gillespie will make use of his contact with Ritters' grandson, in order to stimulate a complete adaptation of this source, which is not only important from a film history point of view. [....] With the debacle on [the film] BESATZUNG DORA, Ritters' ability to stage other timely scripts, which he was almost fanatically determined to do, also disappeared. In addition to the list of unrealized projects presented by Gillespie in his Ritter monograph (2nd edition, pp. 139-142), it would have been very interesting to know whether Ritter drew recognizable lessons from the experience of BESATZUNG DORA and to what extent his later war film well-known projects were realized. These notes are also intended as suggestions for further Karl Ritter research, for which The Making of The Crew of the Dora as a documentary collection will represent an indispensable reference. " --Filmblatt, 21. Jg., Nr. 60, Herbst 2016, CineGraph, Hamburg (Review by Dirk Alt.)