The World At War

The World At War

DVD Rating: ****1/2

Reviewed by: Gary Duncan

Read Gary Duncan's film review of The World At War

As you would expect from the makers of The World At War, this is an excellent extras package. There's no shortage of special features and they're easy to locate from the main menu.

The one-page episode summaries are concise and informative, offering a quick overview of the entire series, and the character biographies provide notes on all the main players.

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In the extended Making Of documentary, Jeremy Isaacs, the series producer, outlines the evolution of the project, from the initial idea in 1970 through the three-year production process.

Not surprisingly, given the fact that most of the footage dates back to the war itself, the picture and sound quality are variable, but this only adds to the whole. Isaacs shows us some original "rushes" from the wartime filmmakers - rough cuts with no sound - and then compares these with the final version, with added sound and sharper pictures.

He also compares wartime newsreels, contrasting the differing styles of the British and the Germans. While Goebbels and his Nazi propagandists produced slick, stage-managed footage of a charismatic Hitler and his adoring public, the British newsreel, with its plummy voice-over and tally-ho Englishness, seems to belong to another age. One clip shows Britain's "mobile Mounties", a new motorised force of three-wheelers, tearing up the countryside on manoeuvres - "a swift-moving striking force," according to the commentary, "that will do the enemy a bit of no good" should Hitler and his cronies ever drop by for "a cup of tea and a cream bun".

Isaacs allows himself a wry smile before adding, "I don't know what those commentaries did to the enemy but, by God, they frightened me."

Reviewed on: 02 May 2005
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The World At War packshot
The definitive history of World War Two, narrated by Laurence Olivier and Eric Porter
Amazon link

Product Code: PTWAR2

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.33:1 Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: The Making of the World at War; animated introductions with a four-screen moving menu; Imperial War Museum photo gallery; character biographies; brief history of The World At War; episode summaries; speeches and songs; newsreels and maps; web links

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