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They Shall Not Grow Old - Film released 16 October

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  • Point one is very good in the respect when you compare the fact that the French mutinied in 1917 (?) themselves and the Germans started towards the end it seems

    The first Battle of Ypres is one I know little about yet have read about it the last few days I didnt realise how close we were to being completely eliminated there... i.e. one German captured at the end couldnt believe that their Generals had been cautious for nothing (thinking there was a bigger British force than there actually was) and could probably have rolled over us, most likely putting us out of the war... We pretty much lost the cream of the regular army there but still the soldiers just got on with it!!

    I guess though thats the cusp when you compare our 1914 army with those that did mutiny i.e. Ours was a regular army and not made up of volunteers like the others at that point

    And so did the British on a much smaller scale.

    But our troops were much better treated than the French, who made reforms. Also the French troops always said they would fight the Germans if they attacked. And fight they did, incredibly well in 1918.

    Russia was completely different in that people were starving and it was a totalitarian state.

    There were real fears of a communist revolution after 1917 in the UK ( the red Clyde) and there were many strikes. And there was the Easter rising.

    And clearly they weren't being sent to their certain deaths, as otherwise they wouldn't have been talking to us.
    At the risk of derailing the thread from what I think is an excellent film, the main mutinies in the British armed forces during the war (there were a lot more after ) happened at Etaples, a big camp in Northern France. I've read a couple of things on it and I think it's easy to overstate how significant it was but in the main it was about what I'd characterise as a trade union response to intolerable conditions - the men were out of the trenches but were subject to bullying by NCOs and endless drill. They responded by going on strike, which obviously you can't do in the Army so it gets treated as mutiny. In the end a few ringleaders were jailed and concessions made.

    The mutinies after the war were mainly about speed of demobilisation, Harry Patch mentions one such he was involved in in his autobiography. There were some units that mutinied when they were sent to Russia to try to suppress the Russian Revolution (a lot were colonial units, which is why War Memorials in Aus/NZ often have dates of 1914-1919 for the Great War).

    In terms of the German mutinies, it was left wing sailors who played a crucial part. I appreciate Paul Mason won't be to everyone's taste, but this is a good summary.
    https://www.channel4.com/news/by/paul-mason/blogs/world-war

    I think it's also important to remember that people were starving in Germany as well - civilians had a much worse diet than the soldiers and things got steadily worse with the Allied blockade, so a lot were receptive to revolutionary ideas and post-war there was a short-lived revolution in Bavaria as well as an attempt in Berlin that was brutally suppressed.
  • rananegra said:

    Point one is very good in the respect when you compare the fact that the French mutinied in 1917 (?) themselves and the Germans started towards the end it seems

    The first Battle of Ypres is one I know little about yet have read about it the last few days I didnt realise how close we were to being completely eliminated there... i.e. one German captured at the end couldnt believe that their Generals had been cautious for nothing (thinking there was a bigger British force than there actually was) and could probably have rolled over us, most likely putting us out of the war... We pretty much lost the cream of the regular army there but still the soldiers just got on with it!!

    I guess though thats the cusp when you compare our 1914 army with those that did mutiny i.e. Ours was a regular army and not made up of volunteers like the others at that point

    And so did the British on a much smaller scale.

    But our troops were much better treated than the French, who made reforms. Also the French troops always said they would fight the Germans if they attacked. And fight they did, incredibly well in 1918.

    Russia was completely different in that people were starving and it was a totalitarian state.

    There were real fears of a communist revolution after 1917 in the UK ( the red Clyde) and there were many strikes. And there was the Easter rising.

    And clearly they weren't being sent to their certain deaths, as otherwise they wouldn't have been talking to us.
    At the risk of derailing the thread from what I think is an excellent film
    Dont think any of this discussion is derailing the thread (unless of course it turns into a slagging match), the film is to educate people about what happened in World War One and feel this thread is turning into an extension of that
  • Haven't got to the end yet, but thankyou for highlighting it, its probably the most gut wrenching thing i've seen on war, and hits home what the soldiers went through for us.
  • edited November 2018
    Tom_Hovi said:

    I watched it a couple of nights ago at the cinema, and have spent a few days processing it all, and a few things have really stuck with me.

    1) The Russian revolution in 1917 overthrew a monarchy, yet not once did any of the British soldiers interviewed talk about rebellion or thinking about disobeying orders. This is quite incredible, and really tells you something about the British psyche in that they were effectively being sent to almost certain death, and yet they never complained or thought about rebelling against the establishment.

    2) The lack of ego and demonstartiveness from the soldiers on their return seems incredible to us now. We live in a world where people want to tell you what they had for lunch, and how many laps of the pool they can do, and yet these guys went through the most incredible experience, and yet all they wanted to do was get back to normality with no fuss.

    3) This point has been mentioned above, concerning the cold shouldering of the soldiers upon their return. Thinking about this again, it would have been impossible for anyone in the general public to understand the scale and the venom in the great war - the death and destruction on that scale had never been witnessed, and possibly many people just couldn't comprehend what they were hearing from the returning soldiers.

    4) The levels of bravery from these guys was astonishing, yet they never saw it that way - how many times in the film did you hear the phrase "We just had to get on with it"? - such an stoic English thing to say, no fussing, no moaning, no whining just get your head down, look after your mates either side of you and get the job done.

    Well done to Peter Jackson and the team behind the movie, I don't think it is the sort of thing that you 'enjoy', but it certainly enriched my interest in WW1, and renewed my great respect and admiration for the soldiers involved.

    British soldiers weren’t going to “almost certain death” though. This is one of the myths constantly peddled out concerning the Great War. Four out of every five British infantrymen survived the war and came home again, although considerably more were wounded to a greater or lesser extent. I’m not denying it was hellish for them and many undoubtedly suffered mental trauma as a result. But the “lions led by donkeys” myth that they were all being led to a near 100% slaughter needs to be challenged.

    That said, your other point is valid - the British Army was the only one of the original combatants that didn’t crack through either mutiny, destruction of morale or surrender. In fact, the British Army of 1918 was a superbly trained and led force, with people of skill and ability leading it at all levels.

    I’m sure Clive @SE7toSG3 will be able to offer far more insight than me though.

    I agree with your first point about it not being near certain death. Although you are talking on an overall level of all who served during the war. In certain battles, under certain orders and on some sections of the western front the numbers were almost reversed.
  • edited November 2018

    Tom_Hovi said:

    I watched it a couple of nights ago at the cinema, and have spent a few days processing it all, and a few things have really stuck with me.

    1) The Russian revolution in 1917 overthrew a monarchy, yet not once did any of the British soldiers interviewed talk about rebellion or thinking about disobeying orders. This is quite incredible, and really tells you something about the British psyche in that they were effectively being sent to almost certain death, and yet they never complained or thought about rebelling against the establishment.

    2) The lack of ego and demonstartiveness from the soldiers on their return seems incredible to us now. We live in a world where people want to tell you what they had for lunch, and how many laps of the pool they can do, and yet these guys went through the most incredible experience, and yet all they wanted to do was get back to normality with no fuss.

    3) This point has been mentioned above, concerning the cold shouldering of the soldiers upon their return. Thinking about this again, it would have been impossible for anyone in the general public to understand the scale and the venom in the great war - the death and destruction on that scale had never been witnessed, and possibly many people just couldn't comprehend what they were hearing from the returning soldiers.

    4) The levels of bravery from these guys was astonishing, yet they never saw it that way - how many times in the film did you hear the phrase "We just had to get on with it"? - such an stoic English thing to say, no fussing, no moaning, no whining just get your head down, look after your mates either side of you and get the job done.

    Well done to Peter Jackson and the team behind the movie, I don't think it is the sort of thing that you 'enjoy', but it certainly enriched my interest in WW1, and renewed my great respect and admiration for the soldiers involved.

    British soldiers weren’t going to “almost certain death” though. This is one of the myths constantly peddled out concerning the Great War. Four out of every five British infantrymen survived the war and came home again, although considerably more were wounded to a greater or lesser extent. I’m not denying it was hellish for them and many undoubtedly suffered mental trauma as a result. But the “lions led by donkeys” myth that they were all being led to a near 100% slaughter needs to be challenged.

    That said, your other point is valid - the British Army was the only one of the original combatants that didn’t crack through either mutiny, destruction of morale or surrender. In fact, the British Army of 1918 was a superbly trained and led force, with people of skill and ability leading it at all levels.

    I’m sure Clive @SE7toSG3 will be able to offer far more insight than me though.

    I agree with your first point about it not being near certain death. Although you are talking on an overall level of all who served during the war. In certain battles, under certain orders and on some sections of the western front the numbers were almost reversed.
    If you are talking about a battalion or larger in a single action then the proportion of 5/6ths dying would be quite extraordinarily rare. It is important to distinguish between “casualties” and deaths. For instance, on the first day of the Somme the 10 West Yorks had both the highest casualty and the highest death rate of any battalion, but their death rate was still under 50 per cent of the battalion as a whole. As a very rough rule of thumb, the proportion of deaths compared to casualties was usually around one third.
  • edited November 2018
    There were very few 'wiped out' incidents in the Great War for British battalions, even the more famous stands like Manchester Hill 21 March 1918 (185), 2nd Suffolks, Le Cateau 26 August 1914 (170), 5th Norfolks, Suvla Bay, 12 August 1915 (150) and the 2 Royal Munster Fusiliers, 27 August 1914 (180) often its 3 wounded to 1 killed so whilst battalions were reduced to cadre strength it was very very rarely 'certain death!'

    Andy mentions the 10 West Yorkshires at Fricourt which to my mind are the highest loss I can think of in a single day.

    I should have said the figures in brackets are approximate fatalities, still awful but more realistic
  • I cut myself shaving this morning and as I said ouch or words to that effect the memory of watching instantly made me feel embarrassed.
  • New trailer... more footage. Must see this when it comes out here.
  • It's being shown as a limited release in the States. Went to see it last night with an English mate from Worthing who lives up the road from me (Arsenal fan). One night only showing through Fathom Events. He put me on to it as he's into photography. What a brilliant movie that was. Brought 100 year old footage back to life and made real people of the soldiers and events that were going on.

    I can't believe how gung-ho they all were. The squalor was unbelievable. There was one scene where it showed them in a gully about 30 minutes before going over the top. Nonchalantly looking at the camera as if they were out on a Sunday afternoon picnic. It was part of the Battle of the Somme. After the movie Peter Jackson described how they had put the movie together and, for that particular footage, he said most of them would, almost certainly, have perished once they went over.
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  • edited February 2019
    Repeated tonight on BBC 2 at 9pm
  • I am desperately hoping to find this playing here. And I am already sick and tired of the trend of movies playing for two weeks on ten screens and then streaming.
  • Saw it today. I liked it overall but guess I was hoping for a bit more.

    What I did take away was the innocence of the kids going into it all and although I had heard about the muddy trenches, the color really delivered that impact in a way I had not felt before.

    I got a little impatient in the first 12 minutes which was in scratchy, old, black and white. I see what they were trying to do but I am not sure it really was the artistic flourish they hoped for. I also really found the everyday drudgery interesting and I could see what it felt like to an 18 year old away from home for the first time and that experience being a war.

    My primary negative is the movie felt like.. the kids got there, had one big battle, and then the war ended. It left out the never-ending nature of it all and someone who knew little about the war would think it started and ended in a few months instead of years. I wish the movie did not have the intro and making-of 30-minute coda by Jackson and that instead wish it went deeper.

    I am glad I saw the movie but I doubt I will be thinking about it much tomorrow. Maybe I my expectations were too high.

    4.0/5.0.
  • We’ll be showing this movie as part of the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival during the second week of September, probably at Charlton House. I’ll post full details once the date is finalised. I haven’t asked him yet but will hopefully be able to get an eminent battlefield guide and military historian who posts on here to give a talk on the night (as he did for Journeys End last year) as well.

  • Available on iPlayer for 29 more days
  • Saw it today. I liked it overall but guess I was hoping for a bit more.

    What I did take away was the innocence of the kids going into it all and although I had heard about the muddy trenches, the color really delivered that impact in a way I had not felt before.

    I got a little impatient in the first 12 minutes which was in scratchy, old, black and white. I see what they were trying to do but I am not sure it really was the artistic flourish they hoped for. I also really found the everyday drudgery interesting and I could see what it felt like to an 18 year old away from home for the first time and that experience being a war.

    My primary negative is the movie felt like.. the kids got there, had one big battle, and then the war ended. It left out the never-ending nature of it all and someone who knew little about the war would think it started and ended in a few months instead of years. I wish the movie did not have the intro and making-of 30-minute coda by Jackson and that instead wish it went deeper.

    I am glad I saw the movie but I doubt I will be thinking about it much tomorrow. Maybe I my expectations were too high.

    4.0/5.0.

    But the fighting wasn't never ending and I thought the film covered that very well.

    The lice, the time spent away from the front lines, the prostitutes, the way of life.
  • Saw it today. I liked it overall but guess I was hoping for a bit more.

    What I did take away was the innocence of the kids going into it all and although I had heard about the muddy trenches, the color really delivered that impact in a way I had not felt before.

    I got a little impatient in the first 12 minutes which was in scratchy, old, black and white. I see what they were trying to do but I am not sure it really was the artistic flourish they hoped for. I also really found the everyday drudgery interesting and I could see what it felt like to an 18 year old away from home for the first time and that experience being a war.

    My primary negative is the movie felt like.. the kids got there, had one big battle, and then the war ended. It left out the never-ending nature of it all and someone who knew little about the war would think it started and ended in a few months instead of years. I wish the movie did not have the intro and making-of 30-minute coda by Jackson and that instead wish it went deeper.

    I am glad I saw the movie but I doubt I will be thinking about it much tomorrow. Maybe I my expectations were too high.

    4.0/5.0.

    And not one mention of the Americans "saving" us, again. It's a shame Spielberg didn't make it really.
  • edited February 2019
    The manipulation of the masses,
    On both sides of the fucking trenches.

    How did we get from a young Bosnian Serb shooting the Archduke Ferdinand when after failing the first time from six members of the "Black hand" (young Bosnian Serbs) the car drove down the wrong back street right outside the café and then stalled after the driver tried to reverse and Gavrilo Princip Shot dead Franz and Sophie.

    The fickle fucking finger of fate then intervenes and after weeks of macho madness and the breakdown of diplomacy WW1 kicks off and the rest is History.

    This was amazing footage showing young men who were pawns in the European power struggle. Seeing the young soldiers swapping caps and helmits at the conclusion just made you realize what a giant fuck up it was that led to WW1.

    20 million dead and 21 million injured, throw in the Spanish flu (1918 pandemic) which was made worse with the movement of troops which killed an estimated 50 million (Lowest estimate)and the homo sapien strikes again as the killing machine.
  • The film is tribute to the soldiers who served and those who died. In it's way is as good as any of the monuments that are are in our parks and town squares throughout the UK.

    The moment the marching troops suddenly turn to colour (and appear to look and speak directly at you the viewer) is breath taking and slightly disconcerting.

    For those seeking more on relatives who never came back I refer to:
    https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-war-dead
    the British and Commonweath Graves Commission.

    If you have a name and theatre (Europe, Turkey, North Africa), you may locate the individual, where they are buried, or on which monument their name appears.
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  • Looking forward to seeing this. I've spent so much time walking the battlefields and visiting the cemeteries of Northern France and Belgium over the years and talking to guides and historians. You cannot even begin to feel what it must have felt like until you have been in the trenches and tunnels....to be facing each other as enemies within a few yards at some points must have had the nerves constantly on edge. Cant imagine either the constant noise during the bombardments, truly horrifying......the plus side, its always great to see school parties being educated on the futility of war. Nappa.....get yourself over to France and Belgium and maybe you'll get a better feeling for the tragic losses and unspeakable horrors of WW1
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