Log in

No account? Create an account
They Shall Not Grow Old - Eroticdreambattle — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Tony Grist

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

They Shall Not Grow Old [Nov. 12th, 2018|08:44 am]
Tony Grist
Peter Jackson's documentary about the Great War- shown for the first time on BBC 2 last night.

The pace is no longer lickety-split, the missing frames have been restored, sound and colour have been added and the people are people again.

I've watched a lot of this footage before. In its raw state. And it didn't leave me untouched. But this was the first time I was seeing how they grinned and japed and how bad their teeth were and how they were clowning for the camera. They were no longer shadows but chaps, blokes, cards, kids- whom their mothers would have recognised- bearing up, giving it their best, rising to the occasion, getting through their day as best they could.

How cheery they were. The high art of the Great War tends to miss out the cheeriness. Not a lot of laughs in Wilfred Owen. Not a lot of anything human in the warscapes of Paul Nash. But the cheeriness was a big part of the whole experience. Not just cheeriness but decency too. As one of the disembodied voices remarked, there was a lot of kindness at the front. It's there in the cartoons of Bruce Bairnsfather and in the songs the men made up for themselves. Peter Jackson's film shows us the mud and the smashed up corpses but it also shows us the singalong with the clown in the front row who is strumming his beer bottle like a uke.

Yes, sure, the dead are glorious and honoured and never to be forgotten and all that guff- but what funny faces they had.

[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2018-11-12 04:08 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen this one, but Roy and I recently watched a series that applied the same colorization treatment to footage of World War II, and it added an immediacy that the grainy newsreel photos never did.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-11-12 04:35 pm (UTC)
This is very new. If you get BBC America it'll probably show up there very soon.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2018-11-12 10:01 pm (UTC)
I've spent the weekend in the area around the Somme and visited a German cemetery today. One grave had been decorated with a black and white photo of the soldier buried there, and he had such ridiculous jug ears I felt extra sad about his death.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-11-13 10:30 am (UTC)
It's weird how the statues on the war memorials never have jug ears.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)