Blu-ray Alert: WWII Lost Films — WWII in HD

The Pacific, which premieres 8.30pm Monday on TV One, isn’t the only wartime special you can look forward to seeing in HD.

Amid the wall-to-wall World War I and WWII documentaries being released on DVD to commemorate Anzac Day is WWII Lost Films: WWII in HD.

What distinguishes this History Channel series from the rest is it’s being released on Blu-ray as well (albeit exclusively, at least for the first couple of months, through JB Hi-Fi).

Obviously, only the interviews and newly recorded footage are in HD, with the original archive material being 8mm or 16mm (although the latter has been enhanced).

The episodes have been culled from 3000 hours of footage and tell the stories of 10 American service members and two war correspondents, with narration by CSI: New York’s Gary Sinise and actors reading extracts from journals.

“We’re finding material people haven’t seen before,” History’s president and general manager Nancy Dubuc told the New York Times.

The paper said the footage had rarely if ever seen since the 1940s and depicts test firings of the Nazis’ V-2 rocket and actual launchings against Britain, “with Wernher von Braun — later to become an American space-flight pioneer — on the phone literally calling the shots.

“There is also President Franklin D Roosevelt with George S Patton and other top generals at the supersecret 1943 conference with Winston Churchill in Casablanca, and a bird’s-eye view of the Japanese surrender, taken by a Navy cameraman perched high on the Battleship Missouri.

“And when the American Fourth Marine Division fighting on Saipan broadcast appeals to terrified Japanese women and children to stop their clifftop suicide leaps into the sea, there, too, stood a Marine cameraman.”

DVD Verdict thought the series looked “pretty good” in HD while DVD Talk said “discerning viewers will definitely appreciate the added resolution afforded to the material on Blu-ray”.

WWII Lost Films: WWII in HD goes on sale on May 7 for $34.99.

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