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World War 1 in Colour (2003) is not of the high standard of the "in colour" series of documentaries that includes Britain at War in Colour (2000), The British Empire in Colour (2002) and Japan's War in Colour (2005).
The reasons why World War 1 in Colour (2003) is so inferior to the documentaries listed above, is because the narrative is not dictated by the authentic colour footage available. So in effect World War 1 in Colour is a light weight and omissive overview of the whole conflict.
The colour footage is not real colour footage but tinted black and white footage, which gives a very ugly look to the whole documentary. The look of this digitally coloured footage is similar in quality to hand tinted black and white footage from the silent era of motion pictures. This means the colours look like what they are; colour overlays over black and white stock.
This digital process has many faults because the black and white stock remains dominate. A case in point are the scarlet tunics of the colourised footage of the Coldstream Guards on parade. The correct scarlet colour is rendered impossible to attain because the red tint is layered over dark grey or black. The grody and unsubtle impression of digital colourised footage makes World War 1 in Colour almost unbearable to watch.
The narrative of the series is also defective. The history is generally simplified to the point that the documentary is often misleading.
For the authoritative documentary on World War One, The Great War (1964) narrated by Michael Redgrave cannot be surpassed.
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