4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An insight and poignant view of 1916,
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This review is from: Battle Of The Somme  [DVD] (DVD)
In reviewing this DVD it must be understood that the various film clips which together form the "Battle of the Somme" cannot be seen as an independent or objective account of the Battle of the Somme. The original film which was seen by an estimated 20 million people (or almost half the population of the UK) within 2 months of its release was produced to encourage support for the soldiers in the British Expeditionary Force particularly those involved in the war effort at home. It does not offer a truly accurate account of the struggle in July 1916 which on the first day alone was to cause over fifty thousand British and Empire casualties. Footage in some instances was also reenacted or simulated (watch out for the soldier crossing his legs after being shot leaving the trenches).
So why is it worth watching?
The DVD which has been re-released by the Imperial War Museum offers exceptional footage of the build up to the Battle of the Somme and its engagement. It is beautifully remastered and has the option of 3 audio tracks: the original music score; a more modern and sympathetic score or a narrative explanation of the footage including a sensible and objective critique.
The film sheets (the film is split into a number of short clips in 5 parts) offers fantastic footage including the detonation of the Hawthorne Ridge mine under German defenses and the soldiers of the 1st Lancashire Battalion as they wait in Sunken Lane to assault nearby German trenches. Sadly less than 10 mins after the mine was detonated, the Lancashires were mown down by German machine gun fire as they left Sunken Lane to cross No Man's Land.
Anyone who suggests Malin's footage is not a worthy account because it is not a contemporaneous account would do well to appreciate the difficulties of filming trench warfare from a static camera, and the challenges of traveling back in time nearly one hundred years to do better! Moreover, the poignant images of the Lancashire Pals offer a stark reminder of the noble sacrifice paid by many young men for the freedom of others.