Documentary and newsreel film of World War II has been seen before, but Britain at War--In Colour
is different. Much of the footage here was shot unofficially by servicemen and civilians as a personal record of events unfolding, giving the three programmes a more inward, human quality. "Darkest Hour" covers the period from the government's failed policy of appeasement, through the months of misfortune and failure, to the turn of the tide in North Africa late in 1942. "The Beginning of the End" traces the successes in Asia and the Atlantic, through the D-Day landings, to victory in Europe in April 1945. "Unknown Warriors" takes a chronological overview, through the letters and diaries of, and recent interviews with a dozen people caught up in the conflict. It makes for a detailed, informal and moving insight into the impact of war on those who live through it.
On the DVD: The colour film reproduces with excellent clarity in the 4:3 picture format, enhanced by the immediacy of the stereo soundtrack and John Thaw's thoughtful narrative. Each programme has 28, 19 and 12 access points respectively. Thirty minutes of additional footage are welcome, though the five letter and diary pieces add nothing significant. The year-by-year breakdown of events, and key facts linked to 24 Hot Points within the films, make a valuable study aid. Reproductions of 10 original war posters are harmless enough, but the inclusion of William Wyler's hard-hitting 1943 documentary, The Memphis Belle, gives a valuable insight into bombing missions from an American perspective. All in all, this is essential viewing for World War II buffs and newcomers alike. --Richard Whitehouse
Contains the entire TV series plus features and footage exclusive to DVD.
The three episodes Darkest Hour, The Beginning of the End,
and Unknown Warriors
Exclusive footage not seen on TV
Five letter and diary pieces with additional footage
A year by year breakdown of historical events
Ten original World War II posters
Key facts about World War II with twenty four Hot Points linking back to relevant footage within the series The Memphis Belle
, the moving wartime documentary directed by Hollywood legend William Wyler