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The British Empire in Color
The British Empire in Color
Actor: Art Malik
Genres: Documentary
NR     2008     2hr 30min

Rare footage and eyewitness accounts chronicle the decline of a once vast power The British Empire brought education, technology, law, and democracy to the four corners of the globe. It also brought prejudice, discriminati...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Art Malik
Creators: Stephen Moore, Adrian Wood, Lucy Carter, Stewart Binns
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/29/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 30min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Wherein British lefties show the empire could do no good
H. Keller | Waukesha, WI USA | 05/15/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"If you are expecting to see something of a balanced history of the British Empire (good, bad, ugly) illustrated with color video - you are half right.

The film is in color. And generally, the source video quality was quite good.

The program itself is not a comprehensive history of the empire or even the end of the empire. There are some interesting film sequences (though few I'd classify as outstanding) that seemed to miss most of the target. It was very heavy on India and Israel and sparse on other parts of the empire.

The editorial view is left of center, and many film bits seem to be used to set up some negative quotation or to show anyone who hadn't figured it out by that point in the film, that the empire was bad.

The lack of even a pretense at being an unbiased (or merely comprehensive) study of the subject was surprising.

I was so put off by the dvd, that I ordered the companion book (through an Amazon re-seller) to see if the text was as pompous as the video.

Can you say "sucker?"

Actually, the text was worse than the dvd, the book's author observing that Mountbatten was appointed Viceroy "to ensure that the British would leave their precious Raj with dignity."

That the Falklands War "proved very little except that the British had lost very little of their pugilistic nature."

And of England today "Britain is now a microcosm of its old empire: Not a global empire of ruler and ruled, but a society of equals, all sharing the mother country. Now Britain has to learn to live with that."

Sort of like "You ate all those pies, you fat s.o.b., now deal with the high cholesterol and have an early heart attack! You'll be better off when you're submerged in a Franco-German Europe and, where your grandkids will speak Esperanto, anyway!"

Ironically, lefty text to the side, the book has a better representation of color images of the empire than the dvd set did, so if I had it to do over - I'd buy the book and skip the dvd."
There was indeed a time when the sun never set upon the glob
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 06/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There was indeed a time when the sun never set upon the globe-spanning British empire whose peak was reached under the reign of Queen Victoria. Ably narrated by Art Malik, the 20th century decline and eventual collapse of that venerable empire is superbly documented in an historical survey that is unique in that it is presented with color film taken from major archives and private collections. Presented in three major parts (The Decline of Empire; The Fall of Empire; The Aftermath of Empire), this mini-series charts Britain's empire country by country, beginning with India, justifiably considered the chief jewel in the imperial crown., "The British Empire In Color" proceeds with an informed and informative overview of both British contributions with respect to education, technology, law, and democracy to its possession, as well as the prejudice, discrimination, cultural bigotry and racism it fostered as a means of controlling its subject populations. Covering the partition of India and Pakistan, the creation of Palestine and Israel, the Suez crisis, the rise of Black Nationalism leading to the emancipation of the African colonies, the handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese, and more. Of special note is the use of personal letters and diary excerpts from both the British and their colonial subjects. Enhanced with the inclusion of a 26-minute 'making of' documentary on how the series was researched and developed, "The British Empire In Color" is a superb production and a very highly recommended addition for personal, community, and school library DVD collections in general.
Absolute treasure trove of imagry.
Frank Barker | Not entirely sure. This is not my beautiful count | 08/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Delightfully, more color film continues to be found, restored and shared. History does live in our present beliefs, conflicts, loves and tragedies; it was, as it is now, in glorious, gory color. Maybe these newer generations, not as protected by B&W, will pay better attention to our human story. Amazing to see Gandhi in color, and as one who spent a brief 3 years in colonial East Africa (58-61, me being 8-11 years old), the material on the Mau-Mau uprising and Kenya's eventual independence was simply astounding. History fans, anglophiles, documentary film enthusiasts should be well pleased. My only wish is for more, even more of this stuff, please and thank you."