Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Throughout the late '90s and early 2000s, film archivists unearthed millions of feet of color footage shot by both professionals and amateurs during WWII but long tucked away and forgotten due to reasons of security and economics. Several TV series and specials were culled from these vivid color images; foremost among these is the four-hour PBS documentary The Perilous Fight: America's World War II in Color. Narrated by Martin Sheen, this remarkable assemblage includes disturbing on-the-spot film coverage of the aftermath of Pearl Harbor (reportedly shot by John Ford's military unit) and the Warsaw Ghetto, some heart-stopping combat coverage of the landings in North Africa and Normandy, and fascinating glimpses of the home front in both city and country. The images were complemented by poignant off-camera readings of correspondence written by the combatants and their friends and families back home, and by pointed editorial comments about the role of women and minorities in the war years. The Perilous Fight was first telecast on February 12 and 19, 2003 (two hour-long episodes per night), and was tied in with the publication the coffee-table book America at War in Color.