Top critical review
44 people found this helpful
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.