Hell in the Pacific
Winner 2001 | A Carlton Production in association with The Learning Channel, for Channel Four Television
If all war is hell, it remains the case that for sheer hatred and intense savagery, the Pacific theater of operations during World War II developed into one of the deeper rings of agony. That intensity is explored and explained in Hell in the Pacific. Two years in the making, Hell in the Pacific is a four-part film, spanning 13 countries and following literally in the footsteps of the soldiers of 60 years ago. In the first episode, “Inferno,” after Japan’s sudden attack on Pearl Harbor, the bitterness and grief that was the Pacific War is evidenced in the ferocious savagery that raged across oceans, remote islands and jungles. “Purgatory” looks at the extraordinary fate of Australian nurses evacuated from Singapore and America’s retaliation at Midway. In “Armageddon,” viewers witness death and survival in Japanese prison camps and the horror experienced by women who fell in the path of soldiers. The final episode, “Apocalypse,” reviews the last merciless battles, the bomb that changed the world and, for some, the most difficult journey of all, going home. The core production team, under the guidance of Executive Producer Polly Bide and Writer-Producer-Director Jonathan Lewis, included Associate Producer Isobel Hinshel Wood, Editor Chris Rodmell, Film Researcher Alison McAllan, Lighting Cameraman Jim Howlett, On-line Editor/colourist Michael Sander, Sound Recordist Peter Eason, and Film Editor Chris Rodmell. The group worked on all four films and faced a daunting task: how to organize the sheer mass of archive film, select information from thousands of possible eyewitnesses and shape almost limitless choices of stories and locations. The result offers the viewer insight into the hatred felt for an enemy and how the thin veneer of civilization can so quickly be peeled away. For presenting these sobering questions in the form of powerful documentary accounts, a Peabody Award goes to Hell in the Pacific.