Skip to comments.World War Two as you have never seen it: extremely rare colour footage of D-Day invasion released
Posted on 05/31/2014 3:39:38 AM PDT by SuperSonic
The only known Allied colour footage of World War Two was uncovered in the attic of a Hollywood director by his son.
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
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.
The frames/second must have less than normal, causing the silent-movie-like jerkiness. But the color and clarity was great.
I just mailed the article to a family member who is a WW II vet. Thank you so much for spotting this and posting.
I’ve become conditioned to computer inconsistencies .... this was great.
Many GIs who were photo enthusiasts probably had 16mm color film cameras with them in all theaters of the war but never realized the historic significance and allowed it to deteriorate over time.
It must have been an unbelievable hell. My father in law fought at D-Day and never spoke of it.
History channel take on this film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfDidNBXjJ0
Wonderful footage.. If there is more of it, I’d like to see it.
This reminds me of that new miniseries I watched this week, “The World Wars”. There were some very good parts to it but it was completely ruined with the likes of John McCain, Colin Powell, and Leon Panetta as ‘expert’ historian consultants (I even think I saw Hugh Downs in there at one point).
Additionally, there were dozens of instances in the series where the footage used wasn’t even close to that being described (e.g., when the narrative spoke of bombers used by England, B-17s were shown, or cargo planes dropping paratroops C-130s were shown - in all if it was an airplane it was used no matter if it is wrong - that goes for some of the soldiers, tanks and other weapons, too).
War is hell. Always has been, always will be. I count myself highly fortunate for not having to live through one. At least thus far...
The joy on the faces of those French citizens toward the end is unmistakeable happiness. Knowing that America and Britain, among others, were there to protect them and knowing that the Nazis would never have returned must’ve been incredibly moving and overwhelming after their own country’s military lay down their arms against the Germans.
That sort of happiness is a distant memory for most, I believe. There’s not been a definitive end to a war since WWII. I believe America, and the world, are so shell shocked that nothing surprises us anymore.
over the years, I have noticed much more color film shots of the Pacific island hopping campaign.
I often look for Guadalcanal and Bougainville footage for the chance of seeing my Dad in either color or B&W. Never have.
He said he came here because we were the only country that would resist communism.
Half of his family was killed in the war. His father, a civil engineer, was asked by the Germans to help repair a bridge blown up by the resistance, refused, and was taken away, never to be heard from again. His mother was eventually taken away, leaving him and his teenage sister alone, until he was taken away to work on a farm.
My mother survived the bombing of London, including a dud "blockbuster" that came through her neighbor's window and wedged itself in their fireplace. The slave-labor bomb-makers saved my mother's life. Unfortunately, her sister died of TB contracted after sleeping in the Underground.
My dad rarely spoke of the war years. He was ashamed of his forced tenure in the German army. We didn't learn of it until his later years. I spent a lot of weekends watching "World of War" with him.
Godlessness gave us quite a century.
I knew a few Civil War skirmishers. this is not reenacting per se (no one aims in the direction of anyone else), but guys who dress in the appropriate garb and shoot period weapons either original or reproductions, in a target competition. Most of these guys are more into the traditional weapons than the actual facts behind the war and take any excuse to suit up and shoot. It is fun.
I have done the same thing with Cowboy Action Shooting and have worn my Stetson, vest, boots etc. and strapped on a pair of Single Action firearms and toted my 1873 Winchester and side by side 12 gauge coach gun....Fun
There are very few actual photos of the D-Day invasion..on the beaches..in the first hours. Robert Capa, the great photographer for Life magazine went ashore in the first wave, I think it was on Omaha, and took over a thousand pictures.at great risk to his own life...somehow, nearly all of the exposed film ended up in the water, and was ruined..
The brave Poles gave the West the German enigma machine,which saved countless lives and shortened the war.
The World Wars was unwatchable
There were a few good spots. A few. However, I got tired of cussing and muting/skipping the spots with McLame, Panetta and that phony Colin Powell.
Except the fact that it was not a “civil war” to begin with. No one tried to overthrow the federal goverment. That is yankee propaganda.
Ireland sat out the war, and Germany and Italy were allies against France. It is a marvel that a lot of the American military was composed of men of Irish, German, or Italian descent. American exceptionalism produced one hell of a fighting generation.
So yes, it was a civil war.
Remember that the Confederacy was never recognized by the U.S. as a separate country. They couldn't even get recognition from non-belligerents. For example, Jefferson Davis sent envoys over to Europe but they were snubbed because even Britain and France could see that their claims that they were their own nation were preposterous.
That doesn't square with this:
"On April 12, 1861, General P.G.T. Beauregard, in command of the Confederate forces around Charleston Harbor, opened fire on the Union garrison holding Fort Sumter. At 2:30pm on April 13 Major Robert Anderson, garrison commander, surrendered the fort and was evacuated the next day."
Diplomatic relations are only given to nations. Europe viewed this as a civil war, not a war of the Southern Nation against the Northern Nation.
If I remember correctly, there was lots of footage taken at D-Day. When someone was taking the reels back to the ship, he accidentally dropped the duffel bag with the film overboard and it was lost.
Love that footage of Patton yukking it up with the Brits while Montgomery is unable to conceal his loathing of Ol’ Blood n’ Guts. In return Patton saw Monty as a fuel thief who slowed the advance of his Third Army.
In 1964 I saw a `reunion’ on split screen TV of Eisenhower and Montgomery. Even as old men they still hated each other and spoke their pleasantries through clenched teeth. My Dad who went ashore on D-day plus 2 watched that awkward meeting and laughed out loud.
It’s amazing to see original WWII color footage & realize that this was seventy years ago and that nearly everyone shown in it has long since died of old age.
Heck, I can’t believe how old Vietnam veterans look these days (I’m one).
The History Channel is advertising a new 2 hour program titled “D-Day in HD” that will air on June 6th.
Interesting to note, that the HMS Belfast is now a museum permanently moored on the River Thames, down near Tower Bridge.
My dad was in the South Pacific US Army and fought in the 2nd Battle of Bougainville and in the Philippines, the liberation of Manila. There was for a time a reporter imbedded with them and Ive been looking for photos or film clips with my dad in them but never have. My niece and nephew went to the Smithsonian a few years back and swear that one of the exhibits on WWII had a picture of my dad, but when I looked up the picture, while it resembled him, it wasnt.
But I do have two cigar boxes full of B&W photos my dad took during the war with his Brownie camera, mostly taken in Manila.
Polish pilots in the RAF 303rd Squadron saved Britain during the Battle of Britain.
Then there was Monte Cassino.
The fact is, the Poles never stopped fighting the Germans, they never surrendered, even as the Germans and Soviets occupied their land.
Thanks for the link. It seems to be a complete production by George Stevens, Jr., son of the man who ran the film unit assigned to the ETO.
I was stationed in Britain in the early 1970s. ITN (the “Beeb’s” commercial competition, ran the “World at War” series, the same one that the History Channel is running today. I thought it was excellent at the time and still learn something new with each new episodes. That’s red meat for all WW II buffs. I have no memory of that cataclysmic event, as I was a toddler when it ended. Among my first memories is the boys on our street in SW Detroit returning home.
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That’s a fascinating story. Maybe you should write a book about it.
What a shame!
My dad's friends used to say that to him. But his was a common story for Europeans of his generation.
He had a lot of Polish and Hungarian friends who had similar stories. As a kid, I was amazed by the fact that people could live through war and go on to lead normal lives.
To add one more funny story. One of my English uncles was one of the kids shipped out of London to live on a farm during the blitz. He hated the family that he was staying with. He said he especially hated the food. So at age five or six, he decided to walk home, following the train tracks home. He was about 100 miles from London. Somebody found him, my grandmother found out about it, and had him come home.
I talked to him recently, and he said that at his age, he was more afraid of my mother, who was about 18, than the Germans. 8-)