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World War II: Lost Films (WWII in HD) [DVD]

 Exempt   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
Price: 12.63 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: None
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: None
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: History Channel
  • DVD Release Date: 26 April 2010
  • Run Time: 600 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,957 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



At first glance, the very concept of WWII in HD seems like an oxymoron. After all, isn't the footage from back then nothing more than grainy black-and-white newsreel? And really, how much definition can be added to film that was shot more than 60 years ago? The answers: no, and quite a lot, actually. The quality of much of what is seen in the course of these 10 episodes (each around 45 minutes long) is surprisingly good. Add to that the fact that most of it is in colour (not colorized, but originally recorded in that medium, some at the behest of the United States government), and the result is nothing short of astonishing. It's not easy viewing; there are sequences that are shockingly graphic (vivid examples include the carnage on view after major battles and the shots of Japanese civilians on the Pacific island of Saipan hurling themselves off cliffs to avoid capture by American troops). But all of it has been put to good use in what is undoubtedly one of the most compelling accounts of World War II ever produced.

Other documentaries have chronicled the same events seen here, from the earliest days of the war (when Hitler was overrunning Europe and the ill-prepared Americans were still years away from becoming involved), through Pearl Harbor, the major confrontations with the Japanese in the Pacific theatre (like Guadalcanal, Tarawa, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the incomparably bloody Iwo Jima) and with the Germans in Europe and North Africa (the invasion of Tunisia, D-day, the Battle of the Bulge), and straight on to victory in Europe and finally the Japanese surrender after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But what separates WWII in HD is the filmmakers' decision to view these events through the experiences of a dozen individuals who were actually there, including a couple of war correspondents (one of whom, Richard Tregaskis, was the author of the seminal Guadalcanal Diary); an Austrian immigrant who escaped the Nazis and almost immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army; a nurse with General George Patton's Third Army; an African-American pilot who was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen; a Japanese-American medic who fought heroically while his family was held in an internment camp; and others from the rank and file. All of them are voiced by such actors as Rob Lowe, Amy Smart, Steve Zahn, Josh Lucas, and LL Cool J; and with Gary Sinise providing voice-over narration, the whole piece comes off as a dramatic film as much as a straight documentary (an effect also enhanced by some brilliantly creative juxtapositions of words, images, and music). Not all of these men and women made it through the war (those still alive also appear in on-camera interviews), but none could ever forget the horrors they witnessed, and while those of us who did not serve will never really comprehend the sacrifices they made, this remarkable programme may be as close as we can get. --Sam Graham

Product Description


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The US soldier's view of World War II in colour 18 Aug 2010
So, as with all Blu-Rays in my collection, I move my seat closer to the screen to enjoy the cinematic resolution offered by Blu-Ray - and after a half hour of varied quality imagery, sat back in my seat for what is effectively a standard (for UK, not for the US) resolution set of archive footage. What's notably worse in the archive footage is a curious mixture of 4:3 original, either stretched to widescreen (wrong aspect ratio), or cropped to widescreen (missing top and bottom). It has a mix mostly of genuine colour footage but includes far too much of the bane of all documentary purists - 'colorised' black and white footage, which looks like it came from the 'Battlefront in Color' DVD set. For example, I've seen much higher quality newsreel based footage of Pearl Harbour elsewhere. Here the focus has been on previously unseen colour footage which is quite poor in quality and limited in coverage, given the enormity of the event.

The opportunity that has been missed with much of this archive footage is the lack of digital restoration. With only a few exceptions, there has generally been no obvious attempt to stabilise, or clean up the dust and scratches on the footage they used (and I don't include 'colorisation' which here is mostly worse than the black and white footage). This is more true of the early days of the war - the first 2-3 episodes. The picture quality situation (probably due to the volume of colour archival footage increasing as we progress chronologically through the war) does appear to improve with later programmes in the series.

I've seen comparisons on the US site to 'the World at War'. With the greatest respect, such a comparison is not sensible to make.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
First the good points. I found the documentary extremely well put together. I liked the switching of the action between the different war stories which not only maintained interest but had you wanting to come back again soon to follow the thread. The use of graphics to provide strategic context, zooming into and out of the annotated map was excellent. As a result all 10 episodes were fast moving, informative and captivating. A lot of the reviewers have given a thorough and postive review on the subject matter and I would have given it 5 stars but for the following.

Where I felt extremely let down was by the intensive marketing of this documentary as HD with words such as "converted to HD with meticulous technique, WWII in HD provides a picture of World War II as it has never been seen before". That raised certain expectations which were subsequently proven to have been naive. The war footage was not even up to the quality expected of Standard Definition signal (575 picture lines in UK + 50 for flyback). A lot of it was more like VHS quality of approx 300 lines, or worse, and hence was very fuzzy.

The bonus feature about converting the film to HD explained the process. The film had been scanned at a 4 megapixel resolution for archiving - a resolution preumably chosen so that it ensures that the scanned version is as good as the original. It was then converted to HD resolution, 1920 x 1080 (approximately 2 megapixels) for use on the blu-ray disc. However, it is obvious that if the granularity of the original material is not good, then scanning at a higher resolution merely produces fuzzy images - which is what you get with varying degrees on all the war footage.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WW II in a new light 13 Nov 2010
By Mr. Stephen Kennedy TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I'm not normally an avid watcher of WW II documentaries, and thought as many others did that the final and definitive word has been spoken on the subject, in the BBC World at War series The World At War: The Ultimate Restored Edition 2010 [Blu-ray]. However, this series adds a new scope and dimension to remembering the Second World War. The combination of the approach to the material, and the material itself, has produced something incredibly memorable, sobering, informative, and essential viewing. The material is colour footage, mostly unseen until now, found, as the series prologue says, over a two year search. This has been photographed with High definition, to preserve the material. So what you are saying is high definition version of material of various quality - 8mm, 16mm, often blemished with the ravages of time. Seeing this material, which mostly reflects the Pacific campaign, though North Africa and Europe are well represented, is extraordinary. The distance emotionally and time-wise from the events that you have when seeing them in black and white, is not so easy when presented with the stark reality in colour. It makes the moments more vivid, and more human.. which brings us to how they have handled this material. Rather than try and tell the story of the war from a broad overview of tactics etc - we see the events through 12 different peoples first hand perspective. This is war, as seen through the eyes of individuals, not the historians's traditional dispassionate approach. If there is a down side, it is that this is a very America-centric view of the war, starting from Pearl Harbour and concluding with VJ Day. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars World War II: Lost Films (WWII in HD) [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
good war film this with lots of fighting and different parts of the war, If you like that sort of thing very graphic details.
Published 2 months ago by John Steel
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
Very interesting series about WW II. I have watch it without a pause because it contains very rare and interesting footage.
Published 8 months ago by Marko
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series
This film series received a lot of adverse criticism because it only featured Americans and gave the impression that they had won the war for us. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Speedygee
4.0 out of 5 stars An American soldiers view of WW2
Overall I rather enjoyed this series. However I do feel to get the most from it you have to understand that this is not an all encompassing view of the war. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Chaz
5.0 out of 5 stars wake up negitive reviewers.....
First off to the critics,OK maybe the title is misleading in that of course it can't be true HD.seeing as how the name ww2 in colour has already been used ,what would u call... Read more
Published 16 months ago by neil conde
5.0 out of 5 stars Im gripped
Im into my third episode, it is hard to say its fantastic because of the trajedy of the young soldiers , but it is gripping, i would say if you want to get an american look at how... Read more
Published 19 months ago by D. W. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars world war 11 lost films (blue ray)
Missed the series on tv, so i thought i would buy it as it was a good price,whilst watching the video saw a lot of footage i hadn,t seen before dont know why in every episode we... Read more
Published 22 months ago by steve b
3.0 out of 5 stars Am I missing something here?
My set seems to be missing at least one disc.

The first disc starts with the attack on Pearl Harbour and I was sure there had been some earlier battles - in the skies... Read more
Published on 9 April 2012 by Coolman
1.0 out of 5 stars A Hollywood movie using actual colour footage from WW2 .
I dont see how this,,"documentary"..(if you can really call it such)....has received so many 5 star reviews. Read more
Published on 6 Dec 2011 by horoscopy
5.0 out of 5 stars Total overview of WW II
Thanks to these series I much better understood the whole of the WW II scene. D-Day was not the most important episode of this war.
Published on 2 Aug 2011 by ahooijd
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