Director's Cut of World War 2 hits the shops today

An uncut and unedited version of World War II (actually Episode Five, if you count the prequels) - complete with bloopers and outtakes on a bonus DVD - has finally been released some sixty seven years after shooting wrapped up over Japan in 1945 with an explosive climax.

The World War 2 DVDs have been digitally remastered, with a more natural, "organic" split dividing it in two at the end of the Battle of Midway. It is also a lot more "mushroom heavy" than previous releases.

For the first time since the original release of World War 2, it has been compiled into a marathon box set rather than the serial or "battle and campaign" formats in which it had heretofore been available. The actual war opens with what was originally a blooper that has never before made the final cut. The outtake shows British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returning from Munich to London, holding aloft a piece of paper promising "peace in our time".

Although Chamberlain had actually meant to use the word “peace”, he didn't realize what a canniving and manipulative scamp Mr Hitler was, the bastard. Prime Minister Chamberlain didn’t live to see peace, passing away shortly after the war began. The outtake is what’s commonly known in show business as "a necessary n-dub". Because Chamberlain never delivered the peace that he had intended, the word peace was dubbed over after the war to be replaced with the word "mushrooms". Subsequently, all references to peace were removed from the recordings, with talented 40s voiceover artist and impressionist Chester Gatt replacing Mr Chamberlain's speech in post production. "Mushrooms in our time" is far more accurate, as the clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the war's end clearly demonstrate. The newly restored work shows the original speech, alongside footage of Chester Gatt in the recording studio. The edited work also takes advantage of technology in other ways. For example, Hitler's vile anti-Semitism has been digitally enhanced. The Fuhrer's high definition face is now so clear that his moustache is revealed to be not a moustache at all, but a thick, snotty clump of cultivated, bristly nostril hairs.

The uncut re-release also tests its viewers on the final DVD, where they are asked to distinguish between the plutonium bomb blast and the uranium bomb blast that brought the war to its explosive conclusion. The mushroom clouds are shown in split screen, and the viewer has to choose. However, due to a flood of complaints that the question may cause some offence, a cheat to get through to the final half hour of footage without answering the question has now been made available online.

On the DVD, another food related scene at a Garden Fete in Cheshire in late 1941 shows a Giant Vegetable contest. The word fete didn't have a little Chinaman's hat on the first e, because Chinaman's hats were regarded as too Japanese at the time. People who grew vegetables in allotments for the war effort are seen as a camera shot passes through the vegetables on display, and with glimpses of a massive pumpkin, a large courgette, an oversized shallot onion, two huges conjoined mushrooms, and finally a 1,000lb unexploded incendiary device in a wheelbarrow, its proud new owner beaming broadly, a cigarette clenched between his teeth. Because the bomb landed in his vegetable patch, it counted as a vegetable, and he won the competition. His good fortune came to an end just a week later: He was left homeless after the bomb destroyed his house, and following his conscription, he spent the last four years of the war suffering from dystentery and typhus at a Japanese run holiday camp in South East Asia.

There are many elements of the war that were not seen in other formats. The battle readiness of certain armies is something that is often addressed in World War Two's predecessor, World War (with the title revised to "World War Episode Four"). This is also addressed in the digitally restored sequel..

For example, it has been revealed that while German infantry units and tank divisions were amassing on the French border early on in the war, the vast majority of the French army was already on strike.
 

The new features include not just eye witness accounts, but the accounts of descendants of those who fought or took part in the war. For example, Hiroshi Tawanaka tells of how both of his grandfathers accidentally lost their lives. One of them fell on a sword after the "far less health and safety conscious British" took over control of a holiday camp that he had been quite happily stewarding in Singapore in 1944. The other grandfather accidentally crashed his plane into the deck of the USS Emerson Wiggins just a year later.

The DVD set - with all of its bonus features - goes on release next week.