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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 29 May 2008
The First World War in Colour accomplishes all it says on the box, covering the Land Sea and Air War with no particular bells or whistles. As previous reviews suggest, the same footage is repeated several times over, and the shot of the guy carrying a wounded soldier through the trenches as he looks towards the camera is shown in every episode, sometimes two or three times an episode.

Branagh does a decent job with the narration, however, the best part of the series for me is seeing some of the old veterans telling their stories, in what was probably the last time they will ever appear on camera talking in depth of their experiences. Just seeing and hearing their tales of horror on its own makes the series worth watching, and it is primarily because of them I gave it a three Star rating, otherwise it would have been two.

The programme as expected does rely heavily on footage of the land war, and I was rather disappointed at the short space of time they dedicated to the Battle of Jutland in the Sea War programme. The same can be said of the BEF action in August 1914 at the start of the war, and as always the magnificent fighting retreat from Mons was almost totally ignored - arguably one of the greatest military actions in the history of the British Army.

So in conclusion the programme is certainly worth watching as an introduction to the Great War, but compared to the definitive BBC production in 1964 on the Great War, or the 1969 Thames TV production called the World at War, the First World War in Colour certainly falls a long way short of reaching these standards.
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on 16 January 2011
When You see film clips from WW1 You normally see them in black&white and with a "film-speed" too quick and funny looking. Men like ants crawling up from the trenches and running across the battlefield against the german machine guns, ra-ta-ta-ta, a bit like the Keystone Cops.

In these film-clips You have living colour, the speed is right, the pictures are enhanced and it's all just terrific right looking. It's like viewing a fine piece of drama from to day. The persons You watch is real living and dying persons. The whole thing goes from 2-dimensional to 3-dimensional, in any aspect.

Best damn thing about this terrible war i ever saw.

Jan 16th, 2011
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on 22 October 2003
The formula of using a famous actor to do a war documentary is a well tried one. Michael Redgrave and Judy Dench have done it very well for the First World War. Laurence Olivier did it superbly for the Second. Unfortunately Brannagh is a very pale imitation of any of these. Worse still is the commentary he is asked to read. This is a very shallow script. The idea of colorising the film is little more than a gimmick. The film editors have also committed the monumental error of reusing the same bits of film in different contexts thereby showing their very limited concern for historical reality. If you are interested in the First World War save your money and buy 'The Great War', '1914-1918 Total War/The Crucible' or even Richard Holmes' 'The Western Front'.
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on 6 February 2010
I have not bought the box set for the simple reason that I watched it with eager anticipation on the television only to be totally disappointed. Who did the research on this programme? The whole point was to show it in colour and the colours were WRONG. The French did not wear blue trousers and kepis they were RED that is why they died in their hundreds of thousands in the first 2 years. Paintings show the Austrians frequently wore light blue and yet every Austrian was shown wearing very dark blue almost black. what is the point of a series with such errorsWorld War 1 In Colour - Complete TV Series [DVD] [2003]
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on 25 September 2003
As a history teacher, I eagerly awaited the launch of this series, but was chronically disappointed. Much of the footage is repeated between the episodes - it is clear that the team coloured in a battle scene, a "bored in the trenches" scene, a "flag waving" scene and all the rest of it - so that they could cut and paste it around the bland narrative. The gravitas with which Branagh speaks is laughable given the brain-dead script. I can't even use this with my 13 year olds. The only enlightening detail is that poison gas apparently turned everyone and everything fluorescent and psychedelic. Dire.
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VINE VOICEon 23 August 2004
By colourizing the film, the producers have brought WW1 to life. Being a child of the age of colour, I have always found black & white uninviting & unexciting. I believe that this series will set a trend just like the Britain at War in Colour has done.
However it was not only the colourizing that made the series, but the editorial policy of the series itself. It has a balance between personal interviews, diary extracts, opinions of experts & the commentary by the Narrator thereby keeping interest in the viewing.
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on 22 May 2008
"If any one tells you that they weren't scared to go `over the top' then they're a liar!" That is the only line in this travesty of a TV show that you need to know and the producers seem to know this as it gets repeated and repeated until I switched off the TV. Do not waste your money on this dribble. It doesn't tell you anything new and is very bland, so bland that I never made it to disc two! The BBC's The Great War documentary is much better even if it is in black and white! One star is one star too many.
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on 25 May 2004
The colour is first rate and the historical accuracy is even better. Some of the best historians of the Great War have contributed to this feature, Gary Sheffield and Norman Stone are among the finest in all of military history. This is not a day by day running of the war but is rather more of an overview account. This is essentially a true account of how the allies came to win the war. It is not however the accepted 'schools' version of events and is in my view all the better for that.
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on 23 April 2005
An excellent and valuable resource on the subject of World War one including veteran's views and experiences that I found most moving. The production team have done a great job of colourising the film footage without making it look "coloured in" and it gives a good impression of what it was like.
As for the narrative I found it to be as good as any other and this DVD explores several aspects of the war from the trenches to the war at sea and in the air.
I though it was a great series. Not quite on par with the series "The Great war" which was outstanding. This series is a must have for those interested in the subject.
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on 7 July 2009
First, the good points.

1. The colour really does help, whatever others may say. Things do happen in colour, and if you're really dead set against it, turn the colour off.

2. The script is better than the reviews here suggest, though it does get a bit patronising at times.

3. Some scenes are re-used, but my goodness, that happens in most of these programmes. A majority of TV producers cheat to a lesser or greater extent in this area.

4. The sound added to the obviously silent footage works very well.

The bad points.

1. Less importantly, some of the colourisation is really rather poor. Flesh tones are at times totally unrealistic (orange or yellowish pink), the sort of effect I remember on other people's colour TVs years ago. However, other bits of film are far better. Somebody has been relying far too heavily on a computer to do this.

2. The most important problem - the film speed. Films at this time were shot at I think 18 frames per second. We now use 24, so everybody walks very quickly, and everything happens 25% faster than it should. Why go to the trouble of trying to involve the viewer by colouring the film, and then ruining the effect by not slowing the action? This can easily be done, and it works very well (once you get used to people actually walking, not apparently jogging everywhere).

I enjoyed this series, and I'll watch it again, but it would have been very easy to make it a lot better!
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