The World at War (1973-74) is a 26-episode British television documentary series chronicling the events of the Second World War. At the time of its completion in 1973, it was, at a cost of £900,000, the most expensive factual series ever made. It was produced by Jeremy Isaacs, narrated by Laurence Olivier and included music composed by Carl Davis.
The World at War attracted widespread acclaim and is now regarded as a landmark in British television history. The producer Jeremy Isaacs was considered ahead of his time in resurrecting studies of military history. Among many other aspects, the series focused on a portrayal of the experience of the conflict: of how life and death throughout the war years affected soldiers, sailors and airmen, civilians, concentration camp inmates and other victims of tyranny.
"A lot of time and expertise was invested in the restoration, and if you watch the original TV series and compare it with this new edition then you have to say the effort was worth it. The decision to return to the original archive film and work from that, rather than from the 1970s TV tapes was the right one. Most of the 1940s colour film - where used - looks spectacularly better after the skilful 21st century restoration than in the series as broadcast in the 1970s. Brightness is improved, scratches on the archive film have disappeared, flicker smoothed out. The numerous interviews with people such as Karl Donitz, Albert Speer and other luminaries from Germany, Britain, France, Russia, Japan and the US which brought such authority to the series - as well as those ordinary citizens involved in these events - have also been refreshed with skilled use of modern digital technology and are all the better for it.
The sound is also improved: even without external speakers to exploit the excellent 5.1 DTS surround sound, the difference is noticeable.
As extras you get the three 1-hour programs about Germany under Hitler rarely broadcast or seen after the original TV screening in the 1970s, and a 2-part documentary telling the story of 'The Final Solution' including some illuminating insights into the cult of the SS (this 2-hour film however is not narrated by Laurence Olivier), and an extensive face-to-camera interview with Himmler's deputy Karl Wolf. You get the full-length interviews with Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge, historian Stephen Ambrose, Vannevar Bush and others of which only snippets were used in the 26 episodes. There are long features on the making of the series by Jeremy Isaacs and his team, on the theme music by Carl Davis, on the precise techniques used by the restoration team. There's also some astounding combat footage excluded from the 26 episodes; all absorbing stuff and well worth watching, though most of this material does not include Laurence Olivier's epic voiceover-narration."
All episodes are in MKV 720P HD format and taken from the 40th Anniversary Ultimate Restored Edition Blu-Ray release.
All 26 episodes are included plus 11 bonus extra episodes.
Sent on 7 DVD's