Well, it’s been a roller coaster ride so far. 20 films in and I’ve had some goodies and some baddies. A mixture of pro-war, anti-war and politically neutral films from all around the world covering nearly every decade from the 1910’s through to the 2010’s. I’ll start with a nice pie graph of the decade spread of films reviewed to date.
I have spent a total of 2361 minutes or (bear with me………bear with me……..) 39.35 hours watching these first 20 films. The average film length for these films is 118.05 minutes. I wanted to compare this against the average movie length for all movies ever. This has turned out to be a very difficult stat to confirm. The best I’ve been able to find is a decade by decade list of average film length that I’ve added together and divided by the number of decades. This obviously assumes that the same number of films have been produced in each decade which is probably wrong but, whatever, the average length (MY ‘The Average Length’) of all films ever is 83.2 minutes. This is quite a bit different from the 118.05 minutes for my films. This could be interesting. I’ll keep an eye on it. I’ll also try to knock up an average length per decade stat like everyone else has. That’ll make a nice bar graph for a change.
Out of the total of 20 films I have watched, eight have come from the USA and eight from the UK. After watching each film I’ve decided to give a simple ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ grading rather than some arbitrary Star rating or something similar. The ‘Bad‘ percentage for the American films is 50% against a UK percentage of 25%. Again, there might be something in this. Or it might simply be to do with the colour of my passport. I’ll keep an eye on it.
I’ve also kept an eye on whether a film has a ‘Happy’ or ‘Sad’ ending. Of the 20 films viewed so far 75% of them have ‘Sad’ endings. Which was a bit of a surprise to me. I thought it would be (should be) much higher. Of the 5 ‘Happy’ ending films 4 of them, or 80%, were also rated by me as ‘Bad’. I suspect this correlation is something that will continue.
There’s some other stuff I’m recording but I think it’ll need a larger data set to get any meaning out of it so I’ll leave it be for now. I’ll finish by adding that of the films watched so far 60% of them have been ‘Good’ which was a surprise and 25% have been ‘Anti-war’ in sentiment. Oh yeah, and 55% of them have featured moustaches.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS – STATS 2
Welcome to my second run through of the essential statistical guide to Great War Films. I’ve been dutifully plugging the numbers into my spreadsheet for the best part of the last year with a scientific level of precision. The datapoints have been cleansed and verified. I’ve dragged them out of their prison (Excel) cells, I’ve sat them in front of a bright light, tied them to a chair and placed a bed pan on their heads. Let the interrogation commence. ‘Baldrick. The cocker spaniel please!’
Let’s first look at where these films have come from. We’ve got 7 countries in total on the board so far with one film noted as ‘Multiple’. This was ‘Joyeux Noel’ which had money poured into to it from several European countries. On the face of it this isn’t a very interesting stat but I think it’s worth having as it shows where the big players are. We can expect the various belligerents to all have something to say about the conflict but, as expected, the film industries of the US and the UK have by far the largest presence. What would be interesting when I have a larger data set is to look at the % split of films versus the % split of personnel during the conflict and see if that is proportionate.
I spent a lot of time during my first analysis looking for an average length for all the films that have ever been made. The stat I eventually settled on was 83.2 minutes. The average length of a Great War Film in comparison to this is 112.9 minutes. Quite a difference. I had a feeling that the low ‘All Films Ever’ figure was due to films produced in the earlier years of cinema history. To prove or disprove this I have produced a graph (below) which shows the average length of Great War Films per decade. This would seem to fly in the face of my theory with film length seemingly pretty random throughout the history of Great War Films, maybe even trending downwards slightly. So, either I need a larger sample group or the ‘Average Length of All Films Ever’ stat is bollocks.
I score all films on my spectacularly binary scale of ‘Good’ to ‘Bad’ with no points in between. The following four charts show the results of the Good v Bad scale for films produced in the US, UK, Australia and Turkey. This is a particularly subjective area of my data set so should probably be taken with a pinch of Sodium Chloride, it could be statistically important or it might just be my unconscious bias. I’m leaning towards the prior, of course, but then again, I would wouldn’t I. Whatever, Australia comes out particularly well from it all. Turkey, not so much.
Possibly the most pointless stat I have is looking at overt moustache wearing and whether the film is then rated by me as Good or Bad. This stat is probably being skewed downwards a bit by the poor ratings of Turkish films which obviously have moustaches on any male over the age of about 8 (and some of the woman!). Basically a small majority of Great War Films feature moustaches and of these films most of them are good.
Next up I looked at whether the film had a pro or anti-war or neutral stance with the minority being ‘Pro’. I might dig deeper into this and look at the ‘Pro’ versus ‘Anti’ numbers per decade. I have an inkling films from the late 30’s and early 40’s are more likely to be pro war due to the Second World War. I might be wrong.
Finally, I have my simple, subjective and totally arbitrary stat of Good films against Bad films. When I started this journey I had a feeling that the majority of the films I was to review were actually a bit rubbish. But as it happens, when it comes down to it this seems not to be the case. It turns out that I’ve enjoyed 62.5% of the films I’ve reviewed so far. This means one of two things. Either I was wrong when I started this journey of mine through the history of Great War Films or I’ve lowered my standards. I’m not sure which it is.
And so I’ll leave you again for another 20 films when I’ll return with volume three of my vital statistics. It’s been fun so far and long may it continue.