Peter Jackson brings to life WW1 footage in new film. They Shall Not Grow Old.

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by Clint_NZ, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. Clint_NZ

    Clint_NZ Member

  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

  3. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

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  4. jimbop

    jimbop Banned

    i like the colour, skin tones brings em to life. not a fan of dubbed sound though.
  5. tmac

    tmac Senior Member

    I can see why some people don't like colourised film, but I think this is quite impressive. My only minor quibble is the title: They Shall Not Grow Old. The well-known line from the Laurence Binyon poem For the Fallen is: They Shall Grow Not Old.
    canuck, CL1 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I think he did a good job. Not the typical colorization effort.
    bamboo43 likes this.
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    to be fair at least he has had a go and raise some interest in the ones who didnt have an interest
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  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I think so too.
  9. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Agreed. I saw some sample footage yesterday and it is amazing.
  10. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Looks very impressive.

    Sounds daft, but personally, I felt that little bit more able to connect with them after seeing clips.

    Looking forward to seeing the whole thing.
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  11. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Worth your time, even if you've already seen the above.

    I was just politely nodding through the colourisation part (I don't massively value it), but found myself generally in agreement that the side-by-side comparisons of the movement improvements were good work, and when he explained that they'd hired lip-readers to decipher what the men were saying in silent footage and then hired actors with accents to match their units I found myself thinking that this was far more valuable than just a beautification project.

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
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  12. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Wow, ok, that IS interesting!!
  13. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria.

    Off tomorrow to watch it looking forward to it.
    Chris C likes this.
  14. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    What we need now is a computer wizzard to enhance the Kermode Uncut interview soundtrack, so we can hear what Peter is actually saying!
  15. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Just for information

    Review: They Shall Not Grow Old ★★★★☆

    "Hence his willingness to jump into the fairly controversial arena of "colourisation" (the process of transforming back and white footage into colour).
    He makes a reasonable point. It is not as if he is producing a colour version of a film that was intentionally made in black and white for artistic reasons. He is attempting to make a documentary that might have been made at the time if colour film had been available."

    canuck likes this.
  16. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Actually I am not sure what all the concern is about as I have been watching on Channel 5 this evening a series entitled

    WW1 in Colour - World War 1 In Colour - Channel 5

    This series is surprisingly a series about WW1 and ....................... its filmed in colour at the time.

  17. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    I’m sitting at home watching it now - all schools got sent a freebie DVD copy of it this week. Will file a report in due course.
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  18. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I couldn't agree more. Colourisation is the restoration of reality. Black and white film was simply a limitation of technology.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
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  19. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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  20. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    Ok here are my thoughts after having watched the dvd. (I’ve edited my original post a little to tidy up some typos and clarify a few awkwardly written bits)

    As someone who has taught youngsters about the Great War for nearly twenty years now I am familiar with a lot of the footage used - as no doubt most people with more than a passing interest in the war will be - so I’m pleased to say that in this case familiarity did not breed contempt. In actual fact the film breathes new life into a lot of these images. Watching at home I did not have the benefit of 3D which apparently is an optionwith the cinema version but I’ve always found that a bit of a gimmick anyway and I doubt it will have added much.

    Given all the ballyhoo about the colourising of the footage I was surprised to find that the film was topped and tailed with B&W footage - presumably to provide a bit of contrast with the middle section where most of the money has been spent. Thefilm starts with a small image in the middle of the screen while the voices of veterans describe their feelings about the outbreak of the war and their experiences as they signed up to fight, go through basic training and are finally shipped off the the front. While this is going on the camera is slowlyzooming in on the image as it starts to grow larger in the frame until suddenly the screen bursts into colour. The black and white section still looks to have undergone some restoration as the image is really sharp and the level of detail is quite striking.

    The colourised section focuses on the experience of the trenches. It’s very vivid but maybe it’s because I know that the film has been “coloured in” that I found my brain couldn’t quite fully accept it - the easiest way to describe it is that it looks like someone put a heavy Instagram filter on the footage. Sometimes it works, generally when the colours are more muted, but a lot of the time it looks overly bright. The frequent artillery explosions looked to be slightly computer enhanced to me. However, as with the earlier monochrome section, the actual image restoration is incredible, the speed correction achieved by using computers to insert additional frames makes it look as if the footage was taken a few days ago. The jerky quality of the original film has been replaced with something sleek and smooth. While contemporary footage of the war was heavily censored and often staged, somehow Jackson has been able to source quite a lot of shocking, grisly footage and still frames which he inserts into the moving images (a picture of gangrenous feet is particularly stomach churning) and there are many pictures of twisted and torn bodies strewn across no mans land. It’s especially effective during a sequence describing going on the attack. The film cuts repeatedly from close ups of smiling soldiers larking about for the camera to shots ofcorpses while the voices fo the veterans describe what is was like to go over the top. It’s brutal and haunting and probably the most effective part of the film. Another little detail I noticed was the presence of poppies dotted about the grass in many scenes and slates falling from the roof of a farm as a howitzer is fired.

    As the BBC review someone else posted noted, the sound design in excellent. There’s a constant rumble of gunfire alongside snatches of conversation, music, the clank and rattle ofequipment and so on. In the past lot of the existing footage often had sound dubbed on later and it was usually quite obvious, here it manages to sound completely natural and again gives a new dimension to these century old images, The constant narration by veterans is also brilliant, the whole film is told through their voices and again the quality is excellent. I believe these interviews were recorded in the 1960s for The Great War Tv series and a great many were never used at the time. The BBC did have some of these interviews on iplayer for a while but I’m not sure they’re still there now - worth watching if you can find them.

    There are no modern day talking heads, very few on screen captions and, as a result, a certain sense of context is missing. Presumably this was an artistic decision. The effect is to create a more impressionistic story, place names and specific battles are not mentioned and obviously limiting the scope to France and Flanders once again ignores the fact that this was a genuinely global conflict - but you could argue that was never the remit for this project. If you go into this expecting a history documentary you’re going to be disappointed.

    The film winds on with scenes of wounded men and POWs often sharing moments of humour and compassion for each other before the frame fades once again to black and white and shrinks once more as the war ends and the last few minutes dwell on the aftermath and the difficulty the men faced coming home and readjusting to normal life again. The credits roll over a lusty rendition of Mademoiselle from Armentières.

    Overall then, while I didn’t quite buy the realism of the colourised scenes, the film did achieve thedesired effect of making me appreciate what I was seeing with new eyes due to the sheer level of detail on screen, the clearly terrified faces on some of the men as they waited for the signal to attack filling the frame was powerful and moving and will stay with me for a long time.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018

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