Peter Jackson Turned Black & White Film to Color in WW1 Doc

Lewis Collier
October 11, 2018

Image: One of the shots Peter Jackson has reworked.

To do that, the acclaimed New Zealand director hired forensic lip-readers to go through old silent film footage of the war and uncover the conversations that took place in the trenches and on the battlegrounds 100 years ago. Instead, the century-old film stills have been restored and colorized, with modern audio filing in the sensory gaps and, perhaps most interestingly of all, professional lip-readers weighing in on what they believe the soldiers' dialogue to be, along with actors lending their voices to the fearless members of this formerly black-and-white generation to bring them back to life.

They Shall Not Grow Old comes comes out in the United Kingdom on October 16 - the 100 year anniversary of WW1 ending - and was funded by the government, with Jackson directing the film for free. "It's not something made up by try to bring the film to life".

Award winning director Peter Jackson has brought the reality of the First World War to life for a new documentary.

Image: Peter Jackson remastered archive footage.

He hopes it will help people to understand more about those who served in the Great War, which was the first major war to be captured on film.

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Over four years the award victor edited hundreds of videos to produce the final piece, which masterfully melts black and white scenes into brightly coloured clips.

The documentary was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum and the 14-18 NOW project to commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day. They Shall Not Grow Old will also be distributed to all of Britain's secondary schools after release.

"My family members are not in the film but I feel like they are - this is a common experience", he added.

"We all share the DNA of those soldiers".

"Not one soldier on the Western Front, I guarantee you, not one soldier could sit down and really explain in political terms what was important about fighting the war, what was important about beating the Germans".

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