337 of 339 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have never seen anything like this on DVD !
I expect as you read this, the most two most important questions of your mind (if you're thinking of buying this DVD) is; what is the picture quality like and is it better that the other `WW2 in Color' DVD. The short answer is the picture quality is consistently superb - sharp, saturated and clear. Over three hours of bewildering, sad, horrific and poignant color film...
Published on July 16, 2000 by Andrew R. Henderson
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Varying quality
A good overall look at the available color footage during the war. The commentary is quite good as well. Unfortunately, much of the footage is not as good as it could be. The first program on the first disc has a disappointing black level, and as a result, much of the footage looks too bright and washed out. While the next two programs improve on this, other DVDs such as...
Published on September 21, 2003 by bagelghost
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337 of 339 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have never seen anything like this on DVD !,
This review is from: World War II - The Lost Color Archives (DVD)I expect as you read this, the most two most important questions of your mind (if you're thinking of buying this DVD) is; what is the picture quality like and is it better that the other `WW2 in Color' DVD. The short answer is the picture quality is consistently superb - sharp, saturated and clear. Over three hours of bewildering, sad, horrific and poignant color film. The other DVD is a very good effort, but cannot compete because the new DVD contains footage never before seen anywhere in the last 60 years. This new DVD has been carefully re-packaged to disguise the fact that it is a British-made Documentary aired last year only in Britain (1999). What distinguishes this from out of the ordinary is not just the picture quality, but what you will see in color. It took three years for the team working on this project to find some of the material. You might think you have seen all possible color footage from WW2, but you will be stunned by some of the 35mm material in this DVD. Much of the new footage comes from two sources; Kodachrome 16mm color film shot by both the Germans (up to 1941), so for example, you will see the movies of an SS General who lead the invasion of France. You will see the pre-war build up in Britain, which starts with the optimism of the 1937 British Coronation (in rare 35mm Dufaycolor) and leads on to extraordinary fiery red images of London being bombed by night. You will see America on the dawn of Pearl Harbour and color film of the actual attack. Other footage is shot on 16mm German Agfacolor stock and includes the only color film of the Warsaw Ghetto, with the sharp, clear color looking so real that you may think it was only shot recently. Another film is perhaps the most horrifying, footage, which defies detailed description as it shows the day that an SS Troop rounded up the unfortunate Male population of a rural town and executed them by both hanging and rifle. This footage is so shocking that you will never forget how terrifying this war is (you may find this footage distressing, I found it disturbing). The clear color burns the images into your mind. It is all here; Pearl Harbour/Battle Of The Atlantic/ Stalingrad/Pacific/D-DAY/ Berlin/Buchenwald/Dachau/Hiroshima/ Nagasaki/Paris Liberated/Germany 1938-9/London/The Spanish Civil War. A quiet, respectful commentary by actor John Thaw is augmented by Diary readings from the people who saw the events. This restrained approach is all that is needed as the footage speaks for itself. At the end of the war, we close on footage of Times Square by day as New Yorkers celebrate V.J. day. You will feel as if the footage is so real as to be a fake, but it isn't and all the more moving because of that. Here are ordinary people, just like you and I, trapped on color film and shown a half century later. The images live on. If you want just one DVD about WW2, buy this and never forget what you will experience.
108 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WWII - The Lost Color Archives,
This review is from: World War II - The Lost Color Archives (DVD)This is an excellent DVD with spectacular color footage and excellent commentary about World War II. The historical value of this program is excellent as the facts and historical aspects are presented in a clear and concise manner. This documentary also has the human aspect well covered as most of the footage is accompanied by voiced-over commentary that is taken from actual letters written by soldiers and civilians during the war. The color footage of the home fronts in Great Britain, Russia, Germany and the USA is vivid and superior in quality considering it's 56 - 64 years old. The battle scenes favor the Eastern front and the Pacific with only a few scenes taken from the Western front. There is some footage from the Battle of Normandy but unfortunately no footage from the war in the desert, Operation Market Garden or the Battle of the Bulge. However, there are some incredible scenes taken from occupied Europe/Russia and the liberation of two death camps which are eerie to view in color. This two DVD set is very impressive and well worth it. The bonus footage of Hitler, B-17 bomber crews and the war in the Pacific is absolutely mesmorizing. I would highly recommend this DVD for any WWII historian's collection or for those who want to learn more about the war.
110 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie, hypnotic, gut-wrenching,
This review is from: World War II - The Lost Color Archives [VHS] (VHS Tape)This is an astonishing set of videos. First there is the jaw-dropping, almost hallucinogenic experiance of seeing WWII events in technicolor. It reminds one of how much black-and-white film aestheticizes and abstracts events. Admittedly our eyes don't see in technicolor either, but the color makes you feel far more psychologically "there" so to speak. The second thing is the amazing quality of most of this footage. It hardly seems to have aged at all in 55-60 years! When you consider that film from the 1960's sometimes looks atrociously degraded and washed out, the almost pristine look of this footage is remarkable to say the least. It must have been stored well and never projected. (Of course, the producers could choose the best-looking bits from what was reputedly hundreds of hours of rediscovered film.) Watching this film is a tremendously emotional experiance, sometimes frightening, sometimes grueling, sometimes stomach-turning. The voice-over narration makes heavy use of contemporary letters and diaries of soldiers and civilians, and is often touching. The cumulative impact of all this----the island fighting, Nazi rallies, shipyard workers, civilians hanged by Nazis, radiation victims, Pearl Harbor wreckage, air war footage, death camps, and on and on----is almost overwhelming. Like having your nose shoved into the sheer mess and folly of mass war.
Now that I hear that the UK version of this documentary was narrated by the redoubtable John Thaw I'd love to see THAT version, but otherwise I unreservedly recommend this to anyone and everyone. Too many people think of documentaries as boring but this demonstrates how mesmerizing they can be. For anyone too young to have first-hand memories of it (which is most of the population now) this makes WWII far more visceral than you ever thought possible.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Images of the 20th Century's Most Significant Event,
By A Customer
This review is from: World War II - The Lost Color Archives (DVD)Having read dozens of books on World War Two and having seen many documentaries in the classroom or on my own, I was a little skeptical that simply seeing this footage in color would bring it even more to life. But I certainly was wrong. This is amazing footage from a 3-part History Channel program that presents World War II in color, and there's no way you're going to forget it. Most haunting is the bonus footage of Adolf Hitler hanging out with friends, playing with a dog, petting the animal, playing with children. Seeing a monster in this sort of setting only makes more horrific the Holocaust and Hitler's grand vision of Liebenstraum. Then the footage of Auschwitz and Dachau is enough to haunt you forever. Seeing it in black and white was powerful enough. Seeing it in color, the blank stares of corpses piled up one on top of another in the back of a truck is something that you will never forget. And when you see the kamikaze attack on Okinawa, you'll sit there stunned.
In all, the entire 3-DVD series makes for some unforgettable viewing, strung together with historically accurate narration, most of it from diary entries or letters from the average person. For it was roughly 40 million average persons whose lives were lost in this event. As Roger Mudd ends the series, he talks about how Steven Ambrose' D-Day center now houses the color footage of the Normandy Invasion, so, as Ambrose said, future generations would realize that seeing this in color would show that World War Two was not ancient history. Once you see this, you'll never forget that.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Incredible,
By A Customer
This review is from: World War II - The Lost Color Archives [VHS] (VHS Tape)The review above says it all, but I felt I needed to reinforce how astounding the quality of this video, and its powerful emotional impact really is.
Seeing the screaming, cheering hordes in Nazi rallies, death camp and Hiroshima survivors, and the SS activities in full color cannot be described sufficiently. Every aspect of the war is here, and b/c of the clearness of the video, appears to have taken place far more recently than 55 years ago.
If you have any interest in WWII, this is a MUST buy. 2 complaints: I wish it were longer (it is about 3 hours), and I believe that there were some factual errors mentioned in the video. Hopefully, A&E/History Channel will come out with an additional "color set" as they mentioned that this video set came from "hundreds of hours of color film."
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly clear color footage hits hard.,
This review is from: World War II - The Lost Color Archives (DVD)If you weren't alive during WWII (and that means a lot of you) then you should see this. It has the clarity and appearance of the color footage from the Vietnam War. I'm 30 years old, and this DVD made me realize just how recently these events took place, and how swiftly they escalated. Color brings a humanity and reality to film that strikes home. Some of the scenes are quite disturbing because they're real images of real events involving real people just like us.
They did a fantastic job cleaning up the footage.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Documentary Even if it Were Not in Color,
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This review is from: World War II - The Lost Color Archives (DVD)Apart from the obvious important issue of color, "Lost Color Archives" is different from many other documentaries dealing with World War II. The emphasis is much less on causes and facts than it is on the impact of the war on society and individuals. Its use of personal observances is remeniscent of the way Ken Burns used eye witness accounts in "The Civil War" to make more of an impact on the viewer.
Evenso, from a historical perspective, "Lost Color Archives" does deserve high praise as a solid explanation of the war as a whole. Because it is told largely from the eye witness point of view, the viewer has a sense of the impending conflict, then the endurance through the war, and finally, the exhausted conclusion. Emphasis is placed on the fact that the war was over, but that much of the world had been destroyed and that the effects and rememberance of the war would linger on.
Add color to all this and the documentary clearly stands above anything else I've ever seen about the war. Some of the images are average, some are stunning, some are beautiful, some are horrifying, but all are in color.
The combination of the color video and the first person narratives often sent chills down my spine.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The vision will change your everyday life,
This review is from: World War II - The Lost Color Archives (DVD)Every human being should see this documentary. The vision will change your everyday life that you realize the burden of what we have inherited from those who fought and suffered just a little over 50 years ago. I really hope that the International Versions of this film would be distributed to the rest of the world, so that everyone on this planet will have a chance to understand this legacy to teach ourselves and give lessons to our next generation.
There is especially an important piece of message here, as all the people whom experienced WWII will pass away and a whole new generation in the 21st century know nothing about. As Roger Mudd quoted Stephen Ambrose in epilogue, '..This is not an ancient history.'
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Viewing,
This review is from: World War II - The Lost Color Archives (DVD)All the previous reviewers seem to have covered it all. This two DVD set is essential viewing for everyone. The colour and quality of these two DVDs brings to life the horror and grim reality of WW2. They give a brief and tragic insight to what it was like to experience the second global war, not only from a soldiers view point but also a civilian's one. The focus is more on the human element of the war rather than strategic or tactical view and makes good use of diary and letter extracts to compliment the unforgetable colour images.
The only disappointing feature was that the review on the back of the first DVD suggested there would be combat coverage of the Battle of Staingrad, however this coverage was merely in the form of colour still shots unlike all the other images in this DVD set.
Potential buyers from Australia and New Zealand should note that this has viewed on T.V. as "The Color of War" and not to confuse it with something different.
Everyone should view this DVD to get a feel and an appreciation for this particular period of time.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great,
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This review is from: World War II - The Lost Color Archives (DVD)Based on reviews I'd read beforehand, I expected something big with this 2-disc set. To its credit, it runs 2 hours and 51 minutes. But it's on the pricey side and a lot of what's shown here has been on other more recent (and less expensive) DVD's, like "Hitler, in Color," which is really outstanding. I also expected this DVD set to be better than "World War II in Color, the British Story." On the contrary, the latter costs less than half of this one, ran over an hour longer and had more unique footage and commentary. The "British Story" is all on a single, collector's edition, digital disc.
For those building a DVD library on World War II, especially color features, this 2-volume set belongs in your collection. For those operating on a budget, choose the two DVD's noted above, first. Then, consider "Visions of War, Vol. 2--Hitler, in His Own Words," and various pieces on Winston Churchill, for greater value.
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World War II - The Lost Color Archives by John Thaw (DVD - 2000)
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