Monday, April 10, 2023



Readers will know that in the past I have not supported colourisation of fanous photographs and films, preferring to remain true to the originals.

That said, I also concede that colourisation gives a more modern, accurate and realistic appreciation of the subject matter.

Here are photos from the past that have been colourised, see if you prefer them . . .

The Nazis didn’t just wage war, they also looted the museums and art galleries of the countries they occupied, part both of Hitler’s ambition to create a super museum and gallery in his boyhood town of Linz in Austria, and part of his generals making their own private collections.

Countries sought to safeguard their cultural treasures by boxing them and hiding them secure in mines and caverns. Items too large to be move, such as the statue of David, were boxed and sandbagged. 

The Mona Lisa and other artworks were sent to the Loire Valley on August 28, 1939.  The photo above shows the Mona Lisa being unboxed in 1945 upon return. Note that it is not a large artwork, a fact that surprises a lot of visitors to the Louvre.

The above photograph was taken in 1913 and shows three record holders playing a game of cards - the continent’s shortest, tallest, and fattest man of the time.

The above photograph shows the Scots Seaforth Highlanders in the trenches in 1915, some of them wearing kilts, the riflemen wearing trousers, taking a break from the fighting. Note the dog taking part.

We all know that England gets fogs, some so thick they are referred to as “pea soupers”.

Jack Kelsey played for Arsenal from 1949-1963. This 1954 photograph shows the goalkeeper staring through the thick fog, watching intently for a ball that never came. Unbeknownst to him, the game had already been called off almost half an hour earlier and he was out there on his own. All the other players had left the field for the dressing-room and the audience had left the stadium.

(Hardly worth colourising this pic).

Elizabeth Tayler, photographed on the film set of Giant.

Taylor was so beautiful that she was wooed by tycoons, actors, socialites and many, many more. She married a total of eight times (two of which were to the same man), commenting that she had only slept with men she had been married to.

Years ago former Leader of the Opposition Bill Hayden became Australia’s representative to the United Nations. Listed as the 15th out of 16 speakers on a particular topic, he opened by telling the UN assembly that he felt like he was Elisabeth Tayler’s sixth husband: he know what lay in front of him and what he had to do but he didn’t know whether he could make it interesting.

The Berghof (“Mountain Court”) was Adolf Hitler's vacation home in the Alps near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany. Other than the Wolfsschanze ("Wolf's Lair"), his headquarters in East Prussia for the invasion of the Soviet Union, he spent more time here than anywhere else during his time as the F├╝hrer of Nazi Germany.

The photograph above shows some soldiers from Easy Company enjoying the views while drinking Hitler’s wine in the Berghof after raiding the place.

Those who have watched the series Band of Brothers may remember this.

The Berghof was damaged by British bombs in late April 1945 and was looted after Allied troops reached the area. The Bavarian government demolished the burned shell in 1952.

By the way:

Adolf Hitler greets British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on the steps of the Berghof

The remnants of the Berghof in 2019

When WW1 broke out, Thomas Edward Lawrence volunteered to join the British military and was assigned to Egypt. He supported and became a valuable part of the Great Arab Revolt, where the Arab forces aimed to topple the Ottoman Empire to establish an independent and unified Arab state. Colonel Lawrence, who became known as Lawrence of Arabia, helped the Arab rebels and their allies as a demolition expert. He destroyed railways and bridges and took part in strategic events. 

Lawrence was portrayed by Peter O’Toole in the film Lawrence of Arabia, who bore a remarkable similarity in appearance to the real Lawrence:

Peter O'Toole left, T E Lawrence, right

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