Time and time again, expert restorers have proven just what a difference colorized photos can make when looking back on history. And now, acclaimed director Peter Jackson is demonstrating the powerful impact of transforming black and white film into color for his new World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old.
Jackson, best known for his Lord of the Rings films, spent endless hours pouring over archival footage in an effort to bring a fresh, authentic look at the plight of British soldiers during the Great War. The never-before-seen film footage, provided by the BBC and Imperial War Museum, sees the soldiers expressing their hopes, dreams, and wartime experiences in the first person.
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“To memorialize these soldiers a hundred years later is to try to bring some of their humanity back into the world again,” Jackson shares, “[to] stop them being a black-and-white cliche. Because they didn’t see the war in black and white. They did not experience this war in black and white. They experienced the war in full living color, so why shouldn’t we now with the technology we have turn it from a black-and-white war back into a color war again?”
They Shall Not Grow Old aired on the BBC on November 11, 2018. Those located in the UK can search for cinema screenings via the documentary’s website. They Shall Not Grow Old released in the United States on December 17 and December 27, 2018.
Watch the trailer for They Shall Not Grow Old.