(aka "France is Free" )

 

directed by René-Jean Bouyer
France 2000

 

It almost sounds like a fantasy scenario: An invading American force is greeted as liberators. But it actually happened once upon a time in a land called France where the conquering American heroes were warmly received after driving out the evil Huns.

Koch Vision has released several interesting collections of war-time footage in the past few months. First was “Embedded ’45: Shooting War in Germany,” black and white film by embedded war photographers during the Allied invasion of Germany. Now come two compilations under the umbrella title of “They Filmed the War in Color”; “France is Free” and “The Pacific War.” The color in the films of “France is Free” isn’t exactly vivid or striking, but considering the earliest footage begins in 1939, it is pretty damned rare. When you consider that filming in occupied France was considered an act of treason, some of the material assumes an even greater historical significance. It also explains why much of the footage was shot by German soldiers or officials.

France is Free” focuses as much on domestic life under German occupations, as it does on the military. But the most memorable moments involve the great German war machine. The sight of the Place de la Concorde being used as a landing strip for the Luftwaffe will make most French viewers prickle. Other highlights include footage shot by Darryl Zanuck and George Stevens, Hollywood directors brought in to make propaganda films to bolster morale and instruct the troops. Hitler makes a few appearances as well, looking suspiciously non-Aryan.

The footage is stitched together with a narration (English narration by Geoffrey Bateman for this Region 1 release) that provides context and transforms the disparate material into a historical lesson. I enjoy these discs quite a bit, though the primary appeal is simply the ability to see WW 2-era footage I’ve never seen before. The fact that it’s in color this time around isn’t necessarily a big deal, but who’s complaining?

 

Christopher Long

Theatrical Release: French Television - June 2000

 DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Koch Vision - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Christopher Long for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Koch Vision

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 95 min.
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.56 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Koch Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date: 11-07-2006

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments The footage is compiled from multiple sources, and is in various states of preservation, so the quality varies wildly from scene to scene. In general, the colors are faded and the films rather scratchy - exactly as you'd expect. The transfer is not progressive, and their are multiple examples of combing throughout. Image quality in general is fairly good though, as good as you can expect from this source material.

 - Christopher Long

 

 






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Example of 'combing'

 

 

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Koch Vision

Region 1 - NTSC


 




 

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