The National Geographic channel (which seems to have abandoned any idea of showing anything remotely geographical) is airing a French-made series about WWII. It's interesting for a number of reasons. They have footage that I haven't seen before and they have colorized it. Ordinarily I don't like it when it's applied to B&W feature films, but in the newsreel footage of that era it seems to add an immediacy. The B&W footage always seems remote, and very much belonging to another - rather unreal - era. This way it seems (to me at least) to be a lot easier to identify with.

"If you can, tell me something happy."
- Marybones
This is interesting. Several programmes have aired in the UK on the lines of "World War 1 (or 2) in Colour" and I agree that the archive material has an immediacy and a "reality" that monochrome can't give. But the implication is (and I think it's been specifically stated in many instances) that the film is genuine colour footage from the period.

Colour film has been around for a considerable time, hasn't it?

Bert
This is interesting.  Several programmes have aired in the UK on the lines of "World War 1 (or 2) in Colour" and I agree that the archive material has an immediacy and a "reality" that monochrome can't give.  But the implication is (and I think it's been specifically stated in many instances) that the film is genuine colour footage from the period. Colour film has been around for a considerable time, hasn't it? Bert

As I understand it, the majority of documentary footage shot during WW II was actually shot on color reversal stock but was printed to B & W inter-negatives for cost reasons and those inter-negatives became the source material that everybody went when they wanted "original" documentary footage from World War II.
Thus we came to think of that war as a "black and white" war. After all, almost all of the fictional treatments of that war were still being shot in black and white and then the newsreels would come on then the real war would appear. Also in B&W.
It's only recently that we've come to realize that all of that footage that we grew up seeing that way was actually in color and the majority of the underlying color reversal originals were still there, in storage, waiting to strike new full color prints.
NMS
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Thanks for that. So it could well be that sort of newly- (or first the first time-) processed colour footage that is used in those programmes.

Given that such material does actually exist, it makes the artificial colourising of period black and white footage a slightly dubious practise, doesn't it? Unless it's made clear that that's what has been done.

Bert