Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Thirties in Colour

Last night I started watching The Thirties in Colour (BBC DVD, 2009). I would not say I'm disappointed with the DVD but there are certainly elements that are less than ideal to my mind.

I was hoping for a general look at the period with simple background info on the footage. Stuff like, where, when, what, etc. There would have to be some interpretation to put the footage in perspective but this might have been kept to a minimum and simply factual.

Instead the DVD is a series of video opinions from a series of academic and "expert" talking heads, overlaid on admittedly spectacular footage. The commentators spend a lot of time explaining that the people taking to pictures are white and upper middle or higher class which is hardly earth shaking news to be honest. Everything is coloured (no pun intended) with the commentator's perceptions and opinions.

This doesn't detract from the footage itself but it does make you want to turn the sound off at times so you can absorb what is on the screen and take from it what you want, not what somebody else thinks you should. In the end the footage is worth the effort though. There is a good combination of subjects and places and the quality itself is quite surprising at times. Thankfully there is also little in the way of reconstructions which are fine in their own right but are often used to pad out a lack of genuine material.

Still worth a watch but not a DVD I'd be in any hurry to buy. I got mine from local library. More details are available on the bibliography page.


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