News / USA

    Color Footage Offers Rare Insight into D-Day Invasion

    Rare Color Footage of D-Day Invasion Releasedi
    X
    June 04, 2014 4:09 AM
    Most of the documentary footage of the 1944 Allied invasion in Normandy, better known as D-Day, was shot on black and white film, by a group of Army cinematographers led by the late Hollywood director, George Stevens. But Stevens was also filming a personal diary, using at that time still rare color film. A documentary using his color images gives a new dimension to the campaign to drive Nazi forces from France. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    George Putic
    Most of the documentary footage of the 1944 Allied invasion in Normandy, better known as D-Day, was shot on black and white film by a group of Army cinematographers led by the late Hollywood director George Stevens.

    But Stevens was also filming a personal diary, using color film, which at that time was still rare. A documentary using his color images gives a new dimension to the campaign to drive Nazi forces from France.
     
    At dawn, June 6, 1944, a group of American cinematographers aboard the British light cruiser HMS Belfast was getting ready to film the opening salvos of the invasion.
     
    Their leader, Hollywood director George Stevens, 37, was also filming, but with his personal 16-millimeter camera, using Kodachrome color film.
     
    Stevens developed but never used his footage. It was found many decades later by his son, George Stevens Jr., also a film director, who restored it and produced a stunning documentary in 1994, the 50th anniversary of the invasion.
     
    Thanks to his father, we can now see the color of the sky, the sea, soldiers’ uniforms, smoke from the big ships' guns and even the ships’ camouflage paint.
     
    “I had this feeling that my eyes were the first eyes that hadn't been there who were seeing this day in color, and I watched this film unfold and on this ship - and all of these men with their flak jackets and anticipation of this day,” said Stevens.
     
    The color film also brings the scenes of destroyed French towns to life, with French citizens greeting Allied soldiers.
     
    The footage contains rare color shots of the liberation of Paris and French resistance leader and later president, Charles De Gaulle.
     
    Stevens was fascinated with the faces of young French girls cheering the American soldiers.
     
    There are also shots of U.S. General George Patton, with his pearl-encrusted revolver, and the British forces commander, General Bernard Montgomery. German war prisoners seem almost relieved that they survived the carnage.
     
    “It is the greatest body of color film, and World War II was a black-and-white war. That's how we see it. That's how we saw it,” said Stevens.
     
    The allied soldiers soon were preparing behind enemy’s lines, some flying in gliders decorated with graffiti typical of that time.
     
    Upon entering Germany with Allied forces, Stevens did not cringe from filming the horror of Nazi concentration camps, with piles of emaciated human bodies next to still burning crematoriums, having a strong sense that those colors too should be preserved for later generations.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mojo from: Lafayette, IN USA
    June 06, 2014 4:57 PM
    Historians and Patton's many fans will note that the reason for the late General's contempt for the news media is still alive and well; they were dual, IVORY handled pistols, and as the general himself later noted, "...only a New Orleans pimp would equip himself in such a gaudy fashion."

    by: Mark from: Virginia
    June 04, 2014 6:32 AM
    in this time of uncertainty and chaos, it is powerful reminders like these that we should be learning from. While it is nice to have re-enactments and memorials honoring those involved, it is the reason WHY they were there and WHY there were doing what they had to, that we should take the greatest lesson(s) from.

    Between 2500 and 4900 (estimates only, there is still no 'official' number and probably never will be) Americans died that single day, and an estimated 2700 British and Canadian soldiers also perished. We gloss over such numbers now, having been calloused over years of media reporting on other wars (Vietnam, First Gulf War, War on Terror, etc.) but remember that those numbers represent brothers, sons, fathers of families back home; wives who have lost their husbands, parents who lost their sons, children now fatherless.

    In just one day, June 6, 1944

    In less than 24 hours.

    Lest we forget.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora