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The World at War - The Ultimate Restored Edition  [DVD] 
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The World at War: The Ultimate Restored Edition is the definitive version of one of the greatest documentary series ever made. Each frame has been painstakingly restored and the audio enhanced and upgraded so that this is the best this award-winning series has ever looked and sounded.
Narrated by Laurence Olivier and first broadcast in 1973 when memories of the Second World War were still clear in people's minds and the war's veterans numerous, over 26 episodes this unique series assembled these recollections, together with archive footage, to create one of the most powerful and successful historical documentaries ever seen. The voices of those that fought, worked or watched during the war gave each episode a vivid sense of what it was like to be there and was the hallmark of the series.
Brand new to this DVD boxset for the first time ever: Hard of hearing subtitles, New widescreen presentation, 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound audio. Over 10 hours of special features includes: Brand new - Restoring the World at War - narrated by Sir Jeremy Isaacs, this feature explores every element of the restoration process, 11 features including the making of the original series, Photo galleries, Biographies Speeches and songs, Newsreels and maps.
When this epic series was first broadcast in 1973 it redefined the gold standard for television documentary; it remains the benchmark by which all factual programming must judge itself. Originally shown as 26 one-hour programmes, The World at War set out to tell the story of the Second World War through the testimony of key participants. The result is a unique and unrepeatable event, for many of the eyewitnesses captured on film did not have long left to live: the programme-makers were only just in time. Each hour-long programme is carefully structured to focus on a key theme or campaign, from the rise of Nazi Germany to Hitler's downfall and the onset of the Cold War. There are no academic "talking heads" here to spell out an official version of history; the narration, delivered with wonderful gravitas by Sir Laurence Olivier, is kept to a minimum. The show's great coup was to allow the participants to speak for themselves. Painstaking research in the archives of the Imperial War Museum also unearthed a vast quantity of newsreel footage, including on occasion the cameraman's original raw rushes which present an unvarnished and never-before-seen picture of important events. Carl Davis' portentous main title theme and score underlines the grand scale of the enterprise. The original 26 episodes were supplemented three years later by six special programmes (narrated by Eric Porter), bringing the total running time to a truly epic 32 hours. --Mark Walker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Preserved indefinitely on DVD format (on 10 discs), this series, as other reviewers have already commented, is impressive (to say the least). Added gravitas is provided by the great Sir Laurence Olivier as narrator. There seems no need to re-iterate the praise this DVD very much deserves/
The full episode contents of the DVD special edition are as follows:
* The Making of World at War (exclusive to DVD)
* A New Germany : 1933 - 1939
* Distant War : 1939 - 1940
* France Falls : May - June 1940
* Alone in Britain : May 1940 - June 1941
* Barbarossa : June - Dec 1941
* Banzai - Japan Strikes
* On Our Way - America Enters The War
* Desert - The War in North Africa
* Redstar - The Soviet Union : 1941 - 1943
* Whirlwind - Bombing Germany : September 1939 - April 1944
* Tough Old Gut
* It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow
* Home Fires
* Inside the Reich : Germany 1940 - 1944
* Japan 1941-45
* The Bomb
* Secretary to Hitler
* Who Won World War II?
* Hitler's Germany: 1933 - 1939
* Hitler's Germany: 1939 - 1945
* The Two Deaths of Hitler
* The Final Solution - Auschwitz Part 1
* The Final Solution - Auschwitz Part 2
Not only for the specialist or enthusiast, this is now a crucial collection of material that the forthcoming generations who should learn about their ancestors and the value of peace. This is a non-patronising series that is a must for every DVD collection.
The cropping issue is just so difficult not to notice. I found it a continual distraction. Especially in each an every interview, with chins and tops of heads missing. The quality of the picture is fantastic with amazing clarity. Why oh why did they have to do a hatchet job and cut what looks like about a 3rd out of the picture. SURELY they could have released with both original 4:3 and 16:9 options on the Blu-ray. Supposedly the makers claim you are just losing "non-important" material. But even on opening scene of the devastated french town I had to cringe when I saw how tops of buildings were cropped and the wrecked car seemed awkwardly cramped into the screen.
I wouldnt consider myself a 4:3 "purist" and in fact am more of a 16:9 blu-ray enthusiast. I awaited keanly for the Blu-ray release. I read the reviews and kept my fingers croosed I wouldnt notice the cropping. However now I have to say I am reconsidering whether to sell the blu-ray in favour of the DVD. I am going to buy the 2004 DVD special edition now and compare them side to side. I think as long as the DVD looks acceptable I will probably switch to this. After all this is a historical documentary NOT a hollywood movie. Hence I favour lower def but with the complete documentary non-cropped. I hope seriously the makers read these reviews and consider using the high def material they have to re-issue a 4:3 version in blu-ray, although sadly I doubt it. I think the high def/cropping will be a 50/50 dividing issue for most people. Shame the program makers made us all have to make this choice! Otherwise this would have been an ultimate edition.
As with the other DVD's in the series the original programmes are supplemented with background information and photographs which lead to a fuller understanding of the subject.
The episodes on "Hitler's Germany" and "The Two Deaths of Hitler" are excellent pieces of journalism which cover their respective areas comprehensively.
However, it is the final episodes of this DVD which stand out. The story of "The Final Solution" is told in 2 parts. The first provides detail on the growth of Nazi racial doctrines from the early days & the ideals of the SS through to Poland being annexed and the ghettos. This information is well presented and is crucial for a full understanding of the material contained in the second part. This goes on to describe in detail how a policy of oppression spiralled out of control into state approved mass execution which was only stopped by the liberation of the concentration camps by the Allies. These two programmes are still thought by many to be the most complete and thorough record of these events ever presented in a TV documentary and worthy of the attention of anyone who is interested in this period in history.
It does not seem appropriate to wrap this review up using the usual langauge of praise. However if the topic is of interest, then this is an invaluable source of information.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought for my dad's birthday and he loved it, apparently a really good, informative seriesPublished 2 hours ago by Gabriela D
should be compulsory viewing in all school curriculum throughout the world so that the valuable lessons learnt from watching this exceptional series are never forgottenPublished 4 days ago by JANET SLINGSBY
Great series, but the 16:9 format ruins much of the series. As others have said, heads cropped.Published 8 days ago by Mr. R. Felstead
Nice set of DVDs that chart the War, worth it to give history and films. Good price in salePublished 1 month ago by Mike Hughes