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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More