Tuesday, April 14, 2015

DVD Review: World War One: The People's Story

Following the centennial of WWI, World War One: The People’s Story makes it’s DVD debut on April 14, 2015 from Athena, an RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE) brand. An outstanding cast of acclaimed British actors bring the First World War to life in this stirring documentary created to commemorate the conflict’s centennial in 2014. This unique four-part series mixes archival footage with reenactments by actors playing real participants in the war and performing excerpts from their original letters, memoirs, and diaries of the time. The series is narrated by Olivia Colman (Broadchurch) and stars Claire Foy (Little Dorrit), Matthew McNulty (The Paradise, Jamaica Inn), Alison Steadman (Pride & Prejudice), Daniel Mays (Ashes to Ashes), Romola Garai (Emma), and Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy). This DVD 2-disc set features four episodes plus a 21-page viewer’s guide ($39.99, AcornOnline.com). Originally broadcast in the UK on ITV in August 2014, The People’s Story premiered in the US on Acorn.TV, the premier British TV streaming service in North America, in February 2015, and is available to available to stream any time on Acorn TV at www.Acorn.TV.

Through original diaries, letters, and memoirs, this unforgettable documentary tells how the lives of regular British men and women were transformed by the Great War. A reservist leaves for the front determined to write to his mother every few days. A newlywed says goodbye to his pregnant wife. A young woman fears that when her fiancé sails for France, her hopes of marriage will disappear. For parents and children, soldiers and factory workers alike, life and love go on but never again as they did before. Few could imagine the horrors ahead: hundreds of thousands would never return, and those who did would carry wounds—physical, emotional, psychological—that would change their lives forever.

Along with historical footage, an outstanding cast of actors reenact first-hand accounts uncovered from attics, archives, and libraries across Britain. Narrated by Olivia Colman, this four-part series re-creates the extraordinary stories of ordinary people, told in their own words.

BONUS FEATURES: 12-page viewer’s guide with a map of the western front; an overview of WWI; and articles on trench warfare, the suffragist movement, and the WWI poets

Street Date: April 14, 2015                                SRP: $39.99     

DVD 2-Disc Set: 4 episodes – Approx. 192 min. – SDH Subtitles

UPC 0-54961-2324-9-9                           ISBN 978-1-62172-324-0

My Thoughts 

World War One: The People's Story gives us a look at what life was like for the everyday people during WWI. The documentary was inspired by real letters and diaries, and thus gives us a truly personal feel for what these people endured and how their lives were changed by war. There are several people's voices that are heard through this documentary, from men on the front lines to the wives they left behind at home.  You'll  hear about a soldier who served on the front lines through the letters he writes to his mother. You'll experience the heartbreaking farewell of a solider leaving behind his young, pregnant wife.  Most of all, you'll be touched by the loss of life and how it effected so many people.

This was a fantastic documentary and an educational look at a war that doesn't get the attention it deserves. There is great historical footage included as well as excellent reenactment scenes.  In addition to the documentary, the DVD also includes bonus features like articles on trench warfare and the suffragist movement.  All in all, an excellent addition to any documentary collection.

If you'd like to purchase this DVD for yourself, you can find it online at Acorn media for only $39.99. Its also available on Amazon.