WWI: Fifty two months, fifty two posts – 51 – They Shall Not Grow Old


There have been thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of different remembrance projects being carried out over the four years of the centenary of the “war to end all wars” of which my little blog posts are the smallest of small parts. “They Shall Not Grow Old” – the film project co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museums (IWM) in association with the BBC and created by Peter Jackson, is the opposite of small.

The First World War made cinematic history by being the first time that actual warfar could be filmed; anyone who has visited the WWI galleries in IWM London will have seen the grainy black and white recordings of life in the trenches and scenes of battle. The technological advanced in the intervening 100 years have meant that the film, held in the IWM archives along with much unseen footage, could be cleaned and colourised and set against a script created from the voices of the men who served from BBC and IWM interviews.

Peter Jackson, when discussing his aims for the project, said

“[The men] saw a war in colour, they certainly didn’t see it in black and white,” he explains. “I wanted to reach through the fog of time and pull these men into the modern world, so they can regain their humanity once more – rather than be seen only as Charlie Chaplin-type figures in the vintage archive film.”

The film premiered at the BFI on 16 October and also streamed to cinemas across the country at the same time and I made sure I was in my local cinema to be a part of it. I think this tweet, which I sent as soon as I was able to see my phone through my tears after the screening had finished, says everything I want to say about it:

Screenshot 2019-11-15 at 21.46.27

The above information was sourced from the following:

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