Friday 8 February 2013

The World at War


The opening sequence of the TV series featured the very evocative image seen above

I suspect that most wargamers of a certain age are familiar with the above documentary series first shown in the early 1970s. For the young and aspiring wargamer there was much in this series to inspire and inform and I devoured it avidly. A couple of years ago I received for Christmas the eleven disc digitally restored all singing, all dancing, bells and whistles version of the entire 26 episode series and promptly put it on the DVD shelf where it has sat ever since. Today, I decided to sit down and watch it from episode 1 (not all at once I hasten to add!).

I am really glad I did.

I had forgotten just how good this series was for the time. Miles of actual film footage from across the globe and interviews with many of the actual participants; together with that haunting theme music and the narration of Laurence Olivier made for compelling viewing and with the power to chill even now. Of course the history has been edited to fit the series and so the inevitable back up of a lot of reading would help to flesh out the 26 hours or so but then most wargamers would do that as a matter of course.

Thought provoking and inspiring - even 40 years after it was first shown on TV. I would recommend this set to anyone with an interest in WW2 for the film footage alone. The book that accompanied the series by Mark Arnold Forster is not a bad read either and I understand that the late Richard Holmes also wrote a book revisiting the series from an oral perspective.

Highlights thus far include The German navy bombarding Poland using the rebuilt Schleswig-Holstein battleship, French Tanks in action and also Finnish ski troops. Of course there is a lot of 'staged' footage but even so, it is well worth a look.

More details can be found here - The World at War.


Tim Gow said...

It is still a great series! I picked up a copy a couple of years ago for what I still regard as a knock down price:

David Crook said...

Hi Tim,

Now that is a deal and a half! My version is in a mock notebook which looks pretty good albeit a touch gimmicky.

Great viewing and as I say, the book is not a bad read either.

All the best,


The Angry Lurker said...

I got my set free from The Daily Mail many years ago, I even found the music and downloaded it, great series!

David Crook said...

Hi Fran,

I have just watched the first 4 episodes )not back to back I hasten to add - in two shifts!) and have been totally absorbed by the whole thing.

If anything it is better this time around simply because I, along with a good few others amongst us, probably have a little more knowledge about what is being shown than we did as 13 year olds!

As you rightly say, a great series.

All the best,


Monty said...

I got re-mastered version too - all for a bargain at Tesco - fantastic value!

David Crook said...

Hi Monty,

Mine came from Sainsburys and SWMBO was pleased at the time because not only had she gotten me a Christmas prezzie but she also scored the Nectar points!

A true classic.

All the best,