Welcome to the Great War Films blog. My name is Paul and I have three loves in life (excluding family and friends). In no particular order they are: Movies, the Great War and Cricket. My dream, therefore, is for a film about cricketers in war time. While I’ve been waiting for this inevitability to actually happen I’ve been spending a fair amount of time watching films about the Great War.
The origins of my interest in the Great War are lost in the fog of history. I have early memories of the video for Paul McCartney’s ‘Pipes of Peace’ about the 1914 Christmas Truce and of watching the Australian TV mini-series ANZACs. My Great Granddad died on the Somme, but I don’t think I knew about this until much later. Basically, as far as I can recall, I have ALWAYS been interested in the Great War.
The films of the Great War vary significantly in quality. There are poorly written pro-war propaganda pieces from the early 40’s such as Sergeant York and The Fighting 69th. There are low budget but lovingly produced independents like Johnny Got His Gun and J’Accuse as well as big budget epics like Lawrence of Arabia and Wings.
With the centenary of the conflict upon us, we also have a hundred years of cinematic history to reflect upon. There are early films produced while the conflict was still being fought (and starring combatants who would soon return to the fighting) and there are films being produced to this day. They are date-able by their subject matter and their quality and as you get to know and love them the nuances of their production, the techniques, the stories, the sentiments take on a life of their own. I truly love these films (except for the ones I don’t)
Me? I’m just a guy who has a love of cinema and an interest in the Great War. I spend my days constantly searching for something I’ve not seen, always hoping I’ll find a hidden gem. Dreaming, as I stare at the view out the window of my hillside home, of the day when I get to see that modern epic about Cricketers in the Great War.
Thanks for stopping by.
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I think passchendale needs a review. Watched it recently and was very impressed.
Hi Paul! Very pleased to read your comments on King of Hearts – a film that still divides opinions. I’ve been commissioned to write a piece on it for the insert booklet of a forthcoming UK release on Blu-ray/DVD, so I might quote a sentence or two of your remarks. Hope you’re happy with that?
Thanks for getting in touch Philip. I was going to say ‘Go nuts’ but considering the source material maybe ‘Fill your boots’ is more appropriate. I really like King of Hearts so glad to hear it’s getting a re-release. Any restoration?Paul.
Yes, it’s been scrupulously restored, so it looks terrific, and it’s just been released by Eureka. Hope you enjoy it – and my booklet essay too, of course.
Hi again Philip. Just ordered it. Looking forward to see it in all its glory.
Please review La Bamba
For the movies I have seen, my thoughts of the movies are pretty well in line with yours. Interested to see a review on My Boy Jack.
I read your reviews about “Mars na Drinu” and “Sveti Georgije ubiva azdahu” (corect translation would be “St.George Slays the Dragon” not “St.George Shoots the Dragon” as shown on IMDB) and I have few serbian movies to suggest for you to watch…
1. “Zaspanka za vojnike” – “Lullaby for Soldiers” ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5178964/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0 ) wrongly translated as “Soldier`s courage” based on first part of the book “Serbian Trilogy” by Stevan Jankovic who is main character in movie. “Mars na Drinu” is based on the motives from the same book. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o7sqDLFbeg
2. “Heroj 1914.” – “Hero of 1914.” ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4250494/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0 ) great documentary with really good acted scenes of life and combat of serbian soldiers in 1914. Unfortunately, on Youtube there are just trailers ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfG8Sli4FPY ) and first half of the movie without subtitles. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJPE4G81DEk )
3. “Kralj Petar I” – “King Petar The First” ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8161166/?ref_=vp_back ) based on the life of King Peter the First of Serbia in the beginning of WW1 with some fictional events (such as infantry charge led by elderly king) mixed with some real events and characters (such as 8y.o. Momcilo Gavric which was youngest recorded soldier and NCO in WW1)
4. “Serbia in Great War” – documentary with subtitles ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6QSVwSGRf4 )
That`s all from me for now. Maybe Mirko could help you find this movies with subtitles.
Thank you for taking the time to write this and for the recommendations. I’ll try to dig them out.
I’ve also recently watched some other (non Great War) Serbian films which I enjoyed very much. Lepa Sela, Lepa Gore and Ko To Tamo Peva. You’re recommendations have inspired me to dive deeper into Serbian cinema. Thank you.
Paul from New Zealand.
Have you seen the incredible ‘1917’ yet? If so, what are your thoughts on the film?
Hi Dean. Yep, loved it. Proper entertainment. The only thing anywhere near a complaint from me is that it wasn’t one shot all the way through. The break when he got shot released the tension for me. At a Great War Film it has just the right amount of sadness, just the right amount of Britishness and just amount the right amount of moustaches. I also enjoyed the technical camera work and spent a whole second watch trying to work out all the cut scene cover ups. Amazing.
Thanks for making contact.
Couldn’t agree more Paul. Was gripped from start to end. Think the one-shot would have been overkill for the whole movie but it would have been interesting to see.
Out of interest, have you ever compiled your top 10 WW1 films? Be interested to see if ours are on the same lines.
I recently came across some old aircraft fabric, supposedly from WWI. The fabric shows insignias from the 1st Aero Squadron (US flag and airplane number) and the 213th Aero Squadron (profile of Indian head). I do not believe they are authentic but may well have been used on airplanes used in a movie of the times. Any ideas of what movie they may have been in?