Smithsonian Channel will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy with a new documentary that uses unseen and rare images to give an intimate account of the battle that freed Europe from Nazi rule. One of the world’s foremost experts on World War II archives, Dominique Forget, has identified over 100 hours of previously unseen archival footage, including 20 hours from the battle itself, to reveal the Allies’ struggle to liberate Europe. THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY: 85 DAYS IN HELL premieres Thursday, June 6 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.
Watch a sneak peek below:
June 6, 1944 – D-Day – began when the Allied forces of the United States, Britain and Canada landed in Normandy to beat back the German troops and liberate France. For 85 days, Allied troops fought the German Army in Northern France, establishing a presence they would never relinquish. Co-writer and Co-producer Forget is a native of Normandy and brings an intimate understanding of the region as well as his 20-year research in film archives to THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY: 85 DAYS IN HELL.
Forget has meticulously identified each frame within the timeline of the larger battle and painstakingly converted it from 16mm film to high-definition footage. His finds include: amateur movies from Capt. Raymond Anderson (a frontline soldier in the 35th U.S. Division from York, Nebraska), U.S. bombers embarking on their mission from the Lessay Airfield, General George S. Patton in Coutances and the emotional liberation of several Normandy towns by the Free French Army. Some of the documentary’s previously unseen footage comes from cameramen led by Academy Award®-winning director George Stevens (“Giant,” “A Place in the Sun”). Stevens’ crew trained at a special camp in the U.S. to accompany soldiers for the express purpose of filming the landings and subsequent battles – the first time for such large-scale war filming. THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY: 85 DAYS IN HELL allows viewers to experience this legendary moment in history from an authentic, never-before-seen point of view.
THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY: 85 DAYS IN HELL is directed by Guilain Depardieu and produced by Thibaut Martin and Dominique Forget for T2MP. International distribution is by Beyond Distribution. Joy Galane and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.