While the inaugural Naples International Film Festival was winding down last Sunday at the Mercato in North Naples, U.S. Marine Corps veterans and the USO were hosting a “world premier” of their own a few miles north at a church hall.
It was a sneak preview of “World War II in HD,” which premieres tonight (Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009) on the History Channel (9 p.m. on Comcast Channel 65 in local markets).
More than 125 attended the showing, including World War II veterans who lived the horrors and the heroics depicted on the screen.
Mike Trephan of the Marine Corps League of Naples arranged the special showing of the first two-hour segment of a 10-hour, five-part series. Parts two through five will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday of this week.
The series, using seldom seen or newly discovered 16 mm color film from both the Pacific and the European theaters of the war, was produced by Lou Reda, who was in Naples two years ago to be honored by the Marine Corps League during its annual “Honor the Free Press Day.” Much of the footage comes from combat cameramen assigned to the Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.
The title “World War II in HD” refers to the quality of the color film. The History Channel claims 16 mm film of the 1940s offers resolution that rivals the quality of today’s high definition. That may be, but many of the images are grainy and shaky, which no doubt happens when a cameraman is dodging bullets and shrapnel.
The series is far more than a compilation of wartime action. It follows the fortunes of 12 individuals whose lives were forever changed by the war. Actor Gary Sinese narrates the series and other familiar voices play a part.
After last Sunday’s premiere a large birthday cake was rolled out at the community room of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in celebration of the 234th birthday of the Marine Corps. The Marines were born on Nov. 10, 1775.
It was another banner program put together by the local Marine Corps League.
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Two weeks ago, we announced the Daily News would no longer run a world map with its “Nation/World Daily Briefing” package. Numbers were placed on the two-column map to correspond with the location of the different news stories featured.
Some readers have called for the map’s return and have asked why we dropped it in the first place.
We were in part responding to complaints that the map was too small to be of much use. For instance, the map’s size could do little to locate individual countries. An event in Norway may as well have been in Italy. All the map could do was designate the continent where a news event occurred.
Our choices were to increase the size of the map, which would have reduced the number of news stories, or replace the map with something more informative. We decided to drop the map and publish a color photo of one of the previous day’s big news events.
Let us know if we made the right decision.
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On Monday, Collier County government will dedicate its new emergency headquarters near the Collier campus of Edison State College in East Naples.
The new building will be named in honor of our former county manager.
When the ribbon is cut, the headquarters will officially become the James V. Mudd Emergency Services Center.
Mudd resigned for health reasons this fall.
The ceremony is at 10 a.m. The building is at 8075 Lely Cultural Parkway.
Phil Lewis is editor of the Daily News. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org