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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
All of the specs attributed to the documentary on the title page here
at the IMDb match up with the one I just viewed except for the
narrator. It's a TWI (Trans World International) Production, and even
though the DVD sleeve itself states "D-Day in Color", the credited
title once you begin viewing uses the spelling 'Colour', so I'm pretty
sure I've got things straight. The documentary is decidedly of British
origin, and the narrator on the version I watched was John Hurt.
Obviously the selling point of this documentary rests in the title. There's not very much footage of World War II in color, certainly not in terms of percentage of total output coming out of that conflict. One of the DVD supplements discussed the way cameramen and reporters covered the D-Day landing and the war in general and it's something I hadn't given much thought before. Unlike movies made about World War II, the action in a documentary may seem unfocused or distant in terms of immediacy. This would be only natural, because the men covering the war were operating under the same battlefield conditions as the fighting forces, and staying alive was an important consideration. Consequently you don't have the kind of close-ups of fighting men or equipment being blown up in the same manner as you'd see in something like "Saving Private Ryan" or "Band of Brothers" where the scenes are dramatized for effect.
I was surprised that the main documentary only ran for about forty five minutes, with a good portion of that devoted to the planning of Operation Overlord. The landing on Normandy is handled almost superficially, and most of the impact is provided by a handful of soldiers who were there, commenting on their thoughts and emotions as they approached their destination and how they reacted to the battle in progress. What you get is worthwhile as far as it goes, but the documentary didn't offer the kind of epic proportion I would have expected.
One thing we do learn is that Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower was a major proponent of accurately reporting the news of Allied success back to the folks at home. This was instrumental in fostering support for the soldiers in battle and instilling a general optimism that the effort against Hitler and the Nazis would result in victory. Consequently, a total of four hundred sixty one newsmen were assigned to cover all aspects of Operation Overlord, even though only twenty reporters actually hit the beaches on that fateful day - June 6th, 1944. Yet their courage and determination would help create a lasting record of the largest amphibious operation in the history of mankind. They captured on film for all the world to see and remember - "free men of the world are marching together to victory"
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