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Customer Review

41 of 45 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
This review is from: World War II: Lost Films (WWII in HD) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
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. The World at War handles the detailed story and the strategy of the war's progress for all countries involved requiring 26 52 minute episodes- this series covers in 10 episodes of 49minutes each. This series follows a bunch of US individuals who actually fought in the war, and it works quite well from that limited kind-of US-national 'foxhole-level' viewpoint. The modern footage of the US military folks today is all hi-def which contrasts with and at times shows up the archival footage. Their direct narration, segued with actors when showing archival footage, works extremely well. The cross-section of US personnel covered is reasonably good. Where World at War wins is in having direct interviews with the decision makers on all sides. You'll not get that here, but then 'tempus fugit' and not many are around today to be interviewed.

This series may (OK will!) upset the non-US nationalists amongst you - I draw attention to the North African campaign where the graphics clearly show the international element, but the British and Commonwealth military's actions are glossed over. The focus on the soldiers means that for the bigger picture stuff, say, the power-play between Montgomery and Patton subsequent to the North Africa campaign, or for instance the German-Russian campaign, you need to look elsewhere.

So in summary buy this if you can imagine the title should actually say something like 'The USA in WWII in HD'. It makes a worthwhile addition to existing content and is in my opinion the best recent US documentary series on the US involvement in the Second World War.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Feb 2012 21:16:17 GMT
olinoah71 says:
Thanks, on that basis shall not be buying. Thanks for the detailed review.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Nov 2012 12:00:36 GMT
Well the yanks like to think that they won WWII all by themselves. They won the battle of Troy too you know!

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jan 2013 17:30:54 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jan 2013 17:31:14 GMT
John Holmes says:
Shouldn't this DVD be called World War II: Found Films?

Posted on 25 Feb 2013 09:58:12 GMT
Georgedc says:
If it weren't for the US in WW2, Europe would be called Germany, Asia and Australia would be called Japan, and you all would be speaking German and Japanese making cars and sushi for Americans!

USA #1
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