Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More from "The World At War"

From the "Making of" documentary for "The World at War," a 26 part TV series on World War II produced by Thames Television in the early 1970's.
We were trying very hard to get something that was really authentic. We didn’t want to have a lot of fake material, etc., and we’d have endless discussions about ‘is this genuine, is it training, was it shot after the action, is it actually a news reel cameraman out there at the front shooting?'

A lot of the British material was all re-inacted afterwards, they’d get soldiers trotting through the sand, firing off Bren guns, artillery pieces, etc. A lot of the Russian stuff was again set up, but very much more elaborately set up. Some of it was very hard to spot that it was set up. A lot of the German stuff was much more genuine, and the American stuff was much more genuine.

You’re then cutting all this material together, you might have a lot of film that you know came from that particular battle at that particular time. You don’t know whether it’s day one of the battle, and it was ten miles down the front this way. You don’t know whether it was day three of the battle, and it was fifteen miles away in the other direction. So you’re cutting material, and you’re trying to make a sequence which is reasonably fast moving because you want the program to move and you’re trying to be honest, but a lot of the material, all though it’s absolutely genuine, it might be less honest than if you faked the whole thing.

So you’re always weighing up these problems of how to use the material in an honest way without making a really boring story.

- Alan Afriat - Supervising Editor, World At War

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