Author Topic: World War Two as you have never seen it: extremely rare colour footage of D-Day invasion released  (Read 286 times)

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Offline mystery-ak

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/10861960/World-War-Two-as-you-have-never-seen-it-extremely-rare-colour-footage-of-D-Day-invasion-released.html

World War Two as you have never seen it: extremely rare colour footage of D-Day invasion released
The only known Allied colour footage of World War Two was uncovered in the attic of a Hollywood director by his son


1:00AM BST 29 May 2014


When the warship HMS Belfast fired the shot that launched the D-Day landings, it was carrying an unlikely passenger - Hollywood film director George Stevens.

With Allied forces set to storm the Normandy beaches of Nazi-occupied France, Stevens was on-board making a unique 16 millimetre colour film journal.

He had made his name in the 1930s, directing the likes of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in 'Swing Time' (1936) and Cary Grant in 'Gunga Din' (1939).

But in 1942, after seeing Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda movies, Stevens enlisted.

General Dwight Eisenhower assigned him to head up the combat motion-picture coverage, a unit covering the war in black-and-white 35 millimetre film for newsreels and military archives.



But while documenting the Allied forces' advance towards Berlin, he took with him a 16 millimetre camera and boxes of Kodachrome film on which he would shoot a personal visual diary of the war.

The film canisters of the war were developed back in the US, but Stevens stored them and for decades they went untouched.

That changed when his son, George Stevens Jr, also a filmmaker, decided to make a documentary on his father's life and was amazed to discover what he found.

An emotional Stevens remembers the first time he watched the films, astonished to see his young father heading to France on HMS Belfast.

"This film came on and it was sort of grey-blue skies and barrage balloons, those big things that hung in the sky, and it was on a ship. It turned out (to be) the HMS Belfast, and it was suddenly I realised the morning of the 6th of June, the beginning of the greatest seaborne invasion in history," he said in a recent interview.

"I had this feeling that my eyes were the first eyes that hadn't been there who were seeing this day in colour, and I watched this film unfold and on this ship - and all of these men with their flak jackets and anticipation of this day - and around a corner on the ship comes this man - helmet and jacket - and walks into a close-up, and it's my 37-year-old father. It was so moving."



 George Stevens died in 1975.

At some point after his death, his son took the best of his father's colour film and in 1994 produced a documentary entitled "George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin".

The colour journal starts on D-Day - 6 June 1944 - and follows the filmmaker and his unit across Europe depicting in remarkable colour the devastation of French towns, the liberation of Paris, Generals De Gaulle, Patton and Montgomery in colour, German prisoners of war, and ghastly images from the Dachau concentration camp.

The film is narrated by Stevens Jr and contains interviews with members of his father's team at the time, known as the "Stevens' Irregulars".

For Stevens, his father's collection remains the main historical record of the World War ll in colour film.

"We thought at the time that this was the only colour film of the war in Europe. As it turned out, there was some German film that had not yet been discovered," he said.

"But it is the greatest body of colour film, and World War II was a black-and-white war. That's how we see it. That's how we saw it. And suddenly to see it in colour, it just took on a whole other dimension."



Pictures and Video courtesy: George Stevens Productions / Warner Bros



   

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Offline mountaineer

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I hope we will take advantage of all the opportunities in the next few days to see documentaries about D-Day.  I don't know anyone who died there, but my two visits to the American cemetery near the beach were among the most meaningful and moving experiences of my life. The first time, I was there with my parents. My father had served in the South Pacific during WWII. My mother and I were overwhelmed and shed a tear or two.

The second time, my brother-in-law had asked on behalf on an elderly friend of his that we look up the man's brother who died a few days into the invasion. We went to the cemetery office and were given directions to that soldier's grave. We walked around until we found it and - again - I was overwhelmed with the enormity of what transpired, the horrors of war, the sacrifices made, and I shed a tear at the grave of a man of whom I knew nothing except that he was the brother of Tim back in Pittsburgh.
The skeptic is never for real. There he stands, cocktail in hand, left arm draped languorously on one end of the mantelpiece, telling you that he can't be sure of anything, not even of his own existence. I'll give you my secret method of demolishing universal skepticism in four words. Whisper to him: "Your fly is open." If he thinks knowledge is so all-fired impossible, why does he always look? — James Sire (from, The Universe Next Door)

Offline Lando Lincoln

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Magnificent.  My Uncle Harvey was with the 101st Airborne on June 6 as a paratrooper.  He was also a glider pilot.  Today, he is 92 and doing well.
For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons. Nat Rev

Offline Lando Lincoln

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I hope we will take advantage of all the opportunities in the next few days to see documentaries about D-Day.  I don't know anyone who died there, but my two visits to the American cemetery near the beach were among the most meaningful and moving experiences of my life. The first time, I was there with my parents. My father had served in the South Pacific during WWII. My mother and I were overwhelmed and shed a tear or two.

The second time, my brother-in-law had asked on behalf on an elderly friend of his that we look up the man's brother who died a few days into the invasion. We went to the cemetery office and were given directions to that soldier's grave. We walked around until we found it and - again - I was overwhelmed with the enormity of what transpired, the horrors of war, the sacrifices made, and I shed a tear at the grave of a man of whom I knew nothing except that he was the brother of Tim back in Pittsburgh.

Yes, I feel it too.  Each Memorial Day, my family travels to a small country cemetery in Michigan U.P. to decorate a grave of my wife's uncle who was killed on January 1, 1945 in Belgium.  He was with the 1st Armor Division.  Yes, I feel it.
For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons. Nat Rev

Offline PzLdr

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Magnificent.  My Uncle Harvey was with the 101st Airborne on June 6 as a paratrooper.  He was also a glider pilot.  Today, he is 92 and doing well.

My Pop was a combat engineer with the 4th Infantry. Landed on Utah Beach. Said his was the first ground unit into St. Mere Eglese. Saw all the dead paratroopers hanging in the trees.
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