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They Shall Not Grow Old

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SWIHARTMARK
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They Shall Not Grow Old

#1 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:10 pm

I recently caught the documentary/movie "They Shall Not Grow Old" on HBO this week after reading about it in several magazines with great reviews. The film uses old film footage and pictures along with archived audio of the men who served in the war. While the original footage was in black and white, it received a modern colorization. While I cannot say this always enhances an old fictional scripted movie done in the same style, it truly made the old new again, well more like come to life. I've browsed more black and white photos and film from WWI than I can remember, but this is the first color stuff I've come across and it was truly gripping. Wikipedia mentions the Imperial War Museum help fund the film, so I can imagine they supplied a good deal of the film, photos and archival audio interviews. It made the old seem new again, not to mention capturing what it was like to be there in person.

I've read some first hand French accounts of life in the trenches in WWI and this British account is about the same, only all I had was a book or two then. The film brought a lot of what I read into fuller detail and confirmed what I read and saw from the few photos the books had. Somehow a few photos of trench life just doesn't do justice to the real thing like seeing colorized first hand film from the period can. Black and white photos just don't carry the same effect of seeing trench foot cases as does color film for example. Also, the film shows several scenes of live shelling with real casualties taking place. For once I saw an overhead explosion of shrapnel shell and the puffs of smoke from the fragments hitting the ground from about 100 feet above the ground. Not exactly something seen in anything produced by hollywood.

The movie is about 90 minutes long and it covers a lot of ground in that time due to excellent editing from men gladly enlisting to men glad to be home and all the transition in-between. If you can catch it on HBO or rent the DVD or stream it, I would give it a go. Somehow you can look away or put black and white photos out of your mind, but the color imagines stay with you longer. I now have more reverence for my 1916 No1 Mk III Enfield arsenal SMLE than I did before the film.

Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#2 Post by 72 usmc » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:54 pm

Yep, its out on normal DVD and blue ray. It has a very interesting second section on its production and restoration of the old films in the DVD. A great restoration of film that was thought lost due to condition or speeds. A true work of art and preservation. Yes, it starts out with faded,fast/slow film due to hand cranked camera footage in original B&W, poor condition due to age deterioration of the film that transforms magically into corrected footage in color with normal speed and voices added/transcribed by lip readers so you have what some of the soldiers were saying as filmed 100 years ago. All backed up with recorded oral history on file. A MUST SEE. Ken Burns by 10X.

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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#3 Post by luigi » Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:15 am

Swihartmark,

I saw the film at the walk-in and could not have said it any better! ( remember the switch in Wizard of Oz from B&W to color! )
PS,,,Was at the IWM last fall and a definite visit if you are in London,
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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#4 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Sun Sep 22, 2019 2:45 pm

The IWM is actually first on my list if I ever get to London. I got an old buddy teaching at Oxford I'd like to tour it with. He loved the USAF Museum and I expect the IWM to be of the same caliber museum. I got him out on the range and we gave my SMLE a few rounds. He said the old guys at the college had fond memories of getting shots with an SMLE while the younger guys thought he was daft for doing it. I have no idea how big it is though, four hangars worth? Size can matter.....

I remember a scene in the film where an English cannon is shelling away and roof tiles from a nearby building are actually falling off due to the over pressure from the shots. I thought a M-44 was harsh, not now. They had great shots of sleeping quarters dug into the side of the trench as well as a crude stove and them being careful not to show too much smoke. It does put what you read to life as well. Oh, a shot of 20-30 feet thick of staked to the ground barbed wire hindering movement really accentuates reading where the artillery did not break up the wire before an assault. Unless you see wire that dense, which you never see in a commercial production, you have no idea what exactly they are talking about.

Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#5 Post by luigi » Sun Sep 22, 2019 6:28 pm

Swihartmark

They also have a IWM in Manchester and one in Duxford ( next to you teaching buddy ). Flights are cheap..have fun!

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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#6 Post by HectorFuego » Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:51 pm

Thanks for the heads-up on the movie. I've been wanting to see it.

Also, just a reminder, the USA WW I Museum is in Kansas City. If you are interested in the history of the Great War, and you are anywhere near KC be sure to check it out.

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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#7 Post by SWIHARTMARK » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:32 am

That museum is actually on my list. Now to convince the Mrs to see it with me.


Best Regards,

Mark

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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#8 Post by Hammy » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:40 am

My wife and I spent a weekend in Kansas City a couple years ago. Lots of great food, I will say. She let me run loose in the World War 1 Museum for 2 days. I must say, it was almost overwhelming. You enter the main display area by crossing over a glass bridge, under which are poppies, many many of them. There is one poppy for every life lost during the war. Very sobering. As an amateur gun nut, the artillery is impressive, the rifles and machine rifles and handguns and trench weapons, well, you just have to go. It's not advertised very well, we basically relied on GPS to get us there. Make sure you tour the original section. Very neat place.
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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#9 Post by HectorFuego » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:26 pm

There is one poppy for every life lost during the war.
Actually it's one poppy per thousand.
That museum is actually on my list. Now to convince the Mrs to see it with me.
When you go, after you've had enough of the museum have some barbecue at Fiorella's Jack Stack. It's just north of the railroad tracks across from the Union Station. Be sure to get the beans and cole slaw. Brisket, pulled pork, and burnt ends are to die for.

Hector
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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#10 Post by HectorFuego » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:30 pm

Forgot to mention that I watched about a third of the documentary last night, and will watch the rest of it within a day or two. The job they did colorizing old film and "smoothing" the motion is astounding. Some of it looks like it was shot yesterday. Kudos to Peter Jackson for keeping their memories alive.

Thanks again for the heads up.

Hector
If you can't kill it with a 30-06 you ain't in North America.
The first rule of intelligent tinkering is, "Save all the pieces."
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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#11 Post by shoggoth80 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:11 pm

I've been wanting to see this. Heard about about it some time ago. I ordered a copy, since the YouTube price, and blu ray price were the same.

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Re: They Shall Not Grow Old

#12 Post by m47dragon » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:34 pm

Watched it on demand last night...a virtual resurrection.

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