Incredible colourised footage has brought the First World War to life after a painstaking project to memorialise British troops by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.
Grainy video of soldiers in the bloody battle has been carefully remastered and turned into colour footage for the first time to mark the centenary of the conflict between 1914 and 1918.
Three-time Oscar-winning Lord Of The Rings film-maker Mr Jackson used 100-year-old footage from Imperial War Museum archives to show it in previously unseen detail.
Over four years the award winner edited hundreds of videos to produce the final piece, which masterfully melts black and white scenes into brightly coloured clips.
Jackson said: ‘I wanted to reach through the fog of time and pull these men into the modern world, so they can regain their humanity once more – rather than be seen only as Charlie Chaplin-type figures in the vintage archive film.’
Through a painstaking four year project director Peter Jackson has turned black and white images into stunning colour photographs and footage
Black and white clips were turned into a coloured film after Peter Jackson ‘reached through the fog of time to pull these men into the modern world’
First glimpse of Peter Jackson’s stunning new WWI film in which he colourises hours of grainy archive footage to ‘bring veterans into the modern world’
The First World War’s centenary this year will be honoured in 3D after Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson plunged into the Imperial War Museum’s archives to rescue grainy footage and present it as it would have looked to the very people who experienced the horrors of battle
British troops in World War One were captured in hundreds of short clips which have now been made into a ninety minute film which will premier this month
Stunning footage shows what the men on the front lines across Europe would have seen with their own eyes after four years of hard work by Mr Jackson
The 90-minute film is narrated with interviews from 120 veterans, from 600 clips recorded in 1964.
Peter Jackson was adamant the soldiers should tell their own stories.
To do that, the acclaimed New Zealand director also 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.
‘There’s been lots of documentaries made on the First World War…and I just decided for this one to strictly just use the voices of the guys that fought there,’ Jackson, director of the ‘Hobbit’ and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series told Reuters on Tuesday.
‘It’s not the story of the war.
‘It’s the story of the human experience of fighting in the war.’
Jackson told Sky News he was inspired by a life-long interest in the war in which his grandfather was a serving solider in the British Army.
‘You didn’t really notice them when they were all sped up and jerky, but suddenly they just come into a focus,’ he said.
Men who were alive during the conflict were interviewed for the dramatic colour film, while lip reading experts were brought in for an accurate picture of what was being said
Men slide down tanks in the footage which has been colourised with stunning results using records and recordings to establish what the scenes would have looked like at the time
Smoking soldiers in trenches feature in the ninety-minute film which is being shown for the first time at the BFI London Film Festival
Jackson said he reached through ‘the fog of time’ to pull soldiers’ First World War stories into the modern world in revitalised archive footage to be premiered in 3D at the BFI
The film was originally announced in January as part of a series of events announced by arts organisation 14-18 NOW.
The premiere will be shown as the festival’s Documentary Special Presentation on October 16 when it will also be screened in both 2D and 3D in cinemas and venues across the country.
Jackson will attend the premiere, which will be broadcast live, and will later attend a post-screening Q&A with film critic Mark Kermode.
The film festival, held in association with American Express, kicks off on October 10 with Widows, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Viola Davis.
It ends on October 21, with Laurel and Hardy film Stan And Ollie, starring Steve Coogan and John C Reilly and directed by Filth director Jon S Baird.
Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old will mark the centenary of the Great War by premiering at the London festival in October alongside simultaneous screenings in cinemas across the country. This black and white footage will be seen in colour for the first time