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The First World War - The Complete Series
The First World War - The Complete Series
Actors: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Andrée Bernard, Emperor Franz Josef, Hermann Göring
Directors: Corina Sturmer, Marcus Kiggell, Simon Rockell
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary, Military & War
NR     2005     8hr 43min

This definitive ten-part series offers insight and analysis to provide a coherent and strategic military narrative of the worldwide conflict that changed history.


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Movie Details

Actors: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Andrée Bernard, Emperor Franz Josef, Hermann Göring
Directors: Corina Sturmer, Marcus Kiggell, Simon Rockell
Creators: David Lloyd George, Arthur Ransome, Douglas Haig, Edward Grey, Georges Clemenceau
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Television, Educational, World War I, Military & War
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 08/30/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 8hr 43min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Newest and best series on the First World War
Scout | VA USA | 08/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This series is to the First World War what the classic World at War series was to the Second World War. It is shorter but excellent nonetheless.

Although the First World War gets less attention than its successor, it was really the watershed event of the 20th century. This conflict shaped the world that came after to this day. It was the catalyst for the rise of soviet communism in Russia, whose unravelling less than a decade and a half ago continues to affect worldwide diplomacy and economics. Germany's defeat provided the opportunity for fascism and Hitler to come to power there, causing the Second World War and its greater destruction. The defeat of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War and the diplomatic and political morass that followed was the precursor for the reconstitution of Israel and eventually brought the Middle East into center stage today.

This series is based upon the books and encyclopedic knowledge of Professor Hugh Strachan. It examines every aspect of the war, from its causes to the conduct of the war on and behind the front lines to its aftermath. In doing so, it covers the diplomatic, political, military and social aspects, each of which played a role in shaping what happened and why. It does not just present the summary facts but goes in depth in its explanations. For example, instead of simply depicting the spring 1918 German offensive on the western front, it gives detail about how they accomplished it, the attitudes of the troops on each side and the thought processes of the respective high commands.

Not having seen Kenneth Branagh's World War 1 in Color, this reviewer is incompetant to compare the two. However, because this series is thorough and draws upon the professor who may well be THE authority on this era of history, it is likely the best presentation on the subject available today."
The Best of the First.
Hal Owen | Burbank, California USA | 09/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The First World War-The Complete Series" is a marvelous introduction to the world we now live in. Arranged in ten parts and based on historian Hugh Strachan's insightful observations, this eight hour plus look into the "War To End All Wars" is always engaging and amazingly contemporary. Mixing film elements of the period with contemporary footage, this four disc program offers insightful explanations into such controversial topics as Jihad and the troubled Middle East, Ireland, Africa, the rise of the nation state, and the rise of the United States to name but a few. What "The World At War" is to World War Two, "The First World War-The Complete Series" is to its predecessor; simply the best documentary on the subject I've yet seen."
Best in its Class...
Kenneth M. Pizzi | San Mateo, CA United States | 05/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I cannot praise this series enough. Remarkably complete and ultimately absorbing, this series does for WWI what "World At War" (1973) did for WWII. Every installment is a fascinating, up-close and comprehensive examination of the often complex elements and participants fighting in the world's first truly "modern war."

Special attention is paid to specific details that most other series leave out; for example, the role of the Ottoman Turks, the significant naval battles between Germany and Great Britain, the battles in the Middle East, and the contributions of the British Commonwealth soldiers from across the Empire. It makes the old CBS series narrated by Robert Ryan a mere footnote and PBS's politically-correct "The Great War" resemble something of a mere amateur documentary filmmaker. Much of the unseen footage secured by Channel 4 in making the documentary was recently discovered from archives in Central and Eastern Europe. The series also takes a close-up look of the weaponry and the letters/diary entries of soldiers from both sides.

Can a excellent documentary compel you to read more on the subject? Well, this one certainly can. This series makes WWI a most fascinating subject worthy of further study and analysis. Too often, what has been mistakenly taught in school is that WWI was merely a "dress rehersal" for the rise of fascism and WWII. This series proves otherwise and we need more first-class documentary series like this. Kudos to Johnathan Lewis and Channel 4 for putting together such a superb series. I liked the series so much, I purchased the Hew Strachan book the series is based on! A real gem...."
An Impressive Accomplishment
Gary W. Shanafelt | Abilene, TX | 01/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The other reviewers have mentioned why this is a quality production, so there is no point in repeating what they have already said. A year ago, I was able to hear Hew Strachan, the historical consultant, give a talk about the making of the series (it would have been nice to have that talk filmed and included as a special feature, but I guess no one thought of that). He noted the labor that went into locating accurate images for the scenes being described: if you are looking at the 1914 German offensive into France, you'll see soldiers in 1914 uniforms, not substitutions from later battles. Equally interesting was the care taken to maintain a balance between historical accuracy and dramatic effect. It was decided deliberately not to include interviews with historians, as in many historical documentaries nowadays, in order not to interrupt the flow of the narrative. There are some beautiful color sequences of what the landscapes look like today, from the Marne to Przemysl, and even some rare color photos from the period.
Of course, some of the interpretations are judgement calls. I personally think the Germans get off rather easily in the discussion of war origins (the famous "blank check" is interpreted in the traditional sense as more of an accident than the Fritz Fischer view of a deliberate provocation for war). But this is more than made up in coverage of German, Austrian, and Turkish atrocities (though there is some mention of what the Russians did in East Prussia in 1914 and how they treated Jewish populations in general in Eastern Europe). If you're using the series in school classes, coverage of these issues makes excellent starting points for further discussion.
Finally, a note on the packaging. The four DVDs come in a handsome box with maps of the major areas of conflict. There is also a 32-page pamphlet of Viewing Notes. Since the overall packaging is so good, some minor oversights are a bit surprising. First, while the contents of each DVD are spelled out on the box and in the pamphlet, they are not actually printed on the DVDs themselves. All you get are the disk numbers. So, if you're a teacher and use them a lot and the box wears out, you might have some trouble remembering which program is on which disk. Navigation is also a bit more difficult than it needs to be. Each program is broken into four segments, but there is no selection item on any of the main menus on the disk for scene selection. To get to the scene menu pages, you have to either have a remote that distinguishes between main and root menus, or else you start the episode you want to watch and then select the menu option on the remote to get the page with the scene choices.
Overall, The First World War is a bargain for the price. It is serious about showing what the war was really like, and in keeping Hollywood to a minimum."