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

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora