" much of this documentary is haunting. The color scenes of young men, frequently taken from home movies, underlines the essential reality that they were very young men being sent into battle. With war on the horizon again, viewers may want to fight the urge to fiddle with the contrast knobs on their sets. World War II in black-and-white documentaries can seem impossibly remote and antiquated. In color the terrors of this war seem, appropriately enough, to have been only yesterday."

Dwight Garner, The New York Times, February 12, 2003

The Perilous Fight:
America's World War II in Color



First broadcast on Channel 4 London in summer 2002 (narrated by Patrick Macnee)
First broadcast on PBS in February 2003 (narrated by Martin Sheen)
Co-production of TWI, Carlton Ltd., and KCTS Television
Executive Producer Martin Smith
Produced by Martin Smith, Scott Pearson, Greg Palmer [Part III: Wrath]
Greg described the development of this series as follows: "A few years ago, two extremely successful historical documentary series aired on British television: The World at War in Color, and Britain at War in Color. The series, produced by Martin Smith, exclusively used color film shot before and during WW II to tell the story of the British experience in the war, with the narration highlighted by readings from the letters and journals of those involved in the conflict. The series were such a success that an American version was inevitable--especially since most of the available color film (and surprisingly there are hundreds of hours of it, some of it absolutely breathtaking) comes from the American National Archives and Records Administration."

Greg's program Wrath (part three of a four-part series) covers the war in Europe from D-Day (June 6, 1944) to VE Day (May 8, 1945): it includes the D-Day landings, the Liberation of Paris, the Battle of the Bulge, the historic meeting between Russian and American troops in Torgau, the Battle of Berlin, the area bombing of German cities, and the liberation of the concentration camps, especially Buchenwald and Dachau. Included in the Dachau section is footage of the first Jewish Shabbat service held in the camp, four days after it was liberated. The rabbi is David Max Eichhorn, who was a chaplain with the Army's XV Corps. He is seen, and heard, beginning with a prayer for the dead and ending with a choir of just liberated Hungarian Jewish girls singing a song Rabbi Eichhorn taught them phonetically the night before: God Bless America. (It was this footage that led to The GI's Rabbi: World War II Letters Of David Max Eichhorn.)

Supported by an extensive website (much of which Greg wrote), at www.pbs.org/perilousfight/, the series makes use of color-graded (not colorized) color film only--no still photographs, no black and white film. For narration, no "talking head" interviews; rather, passages from diaries and letters of the period. [220 minutes, 4-part series]