World War I in Color
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World War I claimed the lives of 10 million soldiers and shaped an entire century. Narrated by four-time Academy AwardÂ® nominee Kenneth Branagh, this extraordinary documentary brings the war's horror and heroism to life in a way never before revealed. Rare archival film-meticulously colorized under the guidance of expert historians-makes the past fresh, relevant, and alive.
In addition to these newly reclaimed sights and sounds, surviving WWI veterans share their experiences, personally testifying about life in the trenches, the terror of "going over the top," and the courage and sacrifice of battle. Analysis by military historians, detailed maps, and excerpts from the diaries and letters of men and women in the struggle offer a full range of perspectives on this unimaginably brutal, bloody clash of empires.
Since 1990, the British team of Philip Nugus and Jonathan Martin has created popular, critically acclaimed historical documentaries, including Hitler's Bodyguard and The Century of Warfare.
* Tactics & Strategy: Dramatic, computer-generated images provide a detailed look at tank, aerial, and submarine warfare, as well as the climactic 1918 German offensive and the British raid on the U-boat base at Zeebrugge.
* Making the Series: Philip Nugus and Jonathan Martin discuss their creative process and technical challenges in compiling World War I in Color.
* Biographies: Major political and military figures
* Timeline of Events
* General Facts
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Clearly, several episodes are not enough to cover every detail of WWI, but major battles, strategies, and technologies are covered nicely. The series devotes separate segments to trench warfare, the air war, the conflict at sea, and the eastern front. A background introduction to the conflict takes up the first episode and the sixth segment presents the conclusion of the war. Two bonus segments round out the series -- a discussion of tactics and strategy and a "making of" piece.
Of course, WWI in Color contains copious footage (for the time) that gives the viewer an invaluable visual sense of the conflict. Many of the film clips are stunning and unforgettable. Yet the series also interviews the few living veterans of the war and asks military historians to expound on various topics. The well-paced narration provides numerous and interesting details.
All in all, a fine and worthy effort that deserves to be viewed.
The colorization process is excellent and the historical accuracy is even better.
This is not a day by day running of the war but is rather more of an overview. This is essentially a true account of how the allies came to win the war. It is not however the accepted 'schools' version of events and is in my view all the better for that.
As important as the technologically added film color, is the educational focus on war machinery and weaponry that WWI inspired. I learned carriers, folding winged planes, tanks, flame throwers, and so much more was first used in WWI, not WWII. WWI was not all horse drawn equipment. The civilian footage (now in color) is dramatic as well. Literally seeing those early 20th century lifestyles & people on footage that is typically only found in still B/W photos is powerful.
ALL 6 episodes as well as 2 excellent Bonus segments (one longer than an episode) provide SUBTITLES. The bonus material is as interesting and well done as the episodes. 20 bios, facts bonus, a time line, plus a booklet pack even more of the war into this set. Topics reachable in scene selections: classroom friendly.
1___"Catastrophe" The cause: assassination in Sarajevo-1914, trenches, death, fighting, letters, wounded, survivors, diaries, air fighting, subs, steam and horse power--all there--now in color.
2___"Slaughter in the Trenches" 700+ miles of trench warfare proved a stalemate 1915-17, going 'over the top' meant almost certain death, new weaponry-more death.
3___"Blood in the Air" Dog fights, bi-planes lifting off a rigged battleship, ace hero's, bombing raids seen in color. Aerial reconnaissance, bi-planes with machine guns (fighters), Red Baron (in red), Flying circuses, sea planes, astonishing footage of air force action only 11 yrs after Kitty Hawk.
4___"Killers of the Sea" U-boats or submarines replaced battleship warfare, Lusitania-1915, Dardanelles, Jutland sea battle, ships going down, Hydrophone, depth charge, all covered with period film, now in color.
5___"Mayhem on the Eastern Front" German, Austrian & Russian western front trenches were horrific and as much a stalemate of the eastern trenches. The Russian Tzar falls leading to revolution and Lenin. Russian defeat adds to the eastern front difficulty.
6___"Victory and Despair" 1918 scenes of the bloody final year, victory, the cost, the aftermath, all of the pageantry and destruction colorized. A suspenseful final year for both sides. Then: 11th hour, 11th day, 11th month.
A quality DVD documentation of WWI with more education narration than entertainment, astonishing old footage, personal interviews, realistic action scenes, and a must see for history and/or war interests. This set's presentation you WILL NOT be able to forget.
What is most notable, aside from the technical aspects noted above, is the narrative, which accurately depicts the underlying reasons for the conflict as well as the all-important opening weeks which directly led to the slaughterhouse of trench warfare. Most histories deal superficially with set-piece battle information and vague overviews. Watching this series actually presents an accurate and insightful understanding of the roots of the conflict as well as how and why events happened in the way they did. I was reminded of Barbara Tuchman's Pulitzer-prize winning "Guns of August". All in all, a somber, informative yet thrilling work.
This would be an outstanding asset for any secondary school history department.