Posts Tagged ‘World War I’

They shall not grow oldI can’t remember the last time I took off work to see a movie. But my parents-in-law, four of my wife’s cousins, and three of their significant others all traveled at least an hour to a Regal Theater in Albany to see They Shall Not Grow Old with my wife and me.

It was a curious release process, two showings, one in the evening of December 17, and the other the afternoon of December 27, in about 1,140 theaters. It was put out by Fathom Events, which specializes in one-day cinematic events such as opera performances.

Back in 2014, the centennial of the beginning of World War I, director Peter Jackson was commissioned to take 100 hours of footage and 600 hours of audio clips and make a movie out of it. As the director admitted in a clip before the actual film, he didn’t know WHAT to do initially.

Eventually, he came up with a narrative that involved the recruitment process in Britain, with many of the recruits underage; they should have been 18, and 19 to go overseas. And it’s when the story switches to France that the film changes from black and white to color.

They Shall Not Grow Old does not attempt to describe a specific battle, but rather the stress from training, boredom from waiting, to being in the trenches and experiencing German bombardments. It wasn’t until the 30-minute “making of” that I truly appreciated the astonishing work it took to make the film look as it did, from slowing down or speeding up the film to making film that appeared too dark or too light pleasing to the eye.

I was so taken by the film that I immediately had to find the two critics out of 68 who gave it a negative review. One said, “Like all of [Jackson’ s] work, it is first and foremost a special effects movie.” And it is, and an incredible one at that, but it’s an odd complaint.

The other groused that “the film is yet another erasure of soldiers of color who are nowhere to be found in what is otherwise a postmodern take on documentary filmmaking.” I don’t know was captured in those recordings so I can’t speak to this.

The truth is, and Jackson said so, that he could have made any number of films, including the role of women in the war effort, a generation before Rosie the Riveter. Or the war at sea. He was trying to create a coherent narrative. One does see, briefly, troops from other parts of the British Empire.

With the success of those two days, They Shall Not Grow Old will have another showing on January 21. An earlier report suggests it will receive a limited theatrical releases in NYC, L.A. and Washington DC starting on January 11, with plans to then expand into 25 more markets on February 1.

Here’s Chuck Miller’s take on the December 17 screening.

JoePersicoPressWebI went to see the author Joseph E. Persico on Saturday afternoon, May 21, 2005 at the Albany Public Library. Persico had been writing for over a quarter century at that point.

His then-current book was Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918, World War I and Its Violent Climax. He stated that more people died on that last half day of the Great War, for no particular strategic purpose, than died on D-Day (June 6, 1944) in World War II.

Persico talked about the process of researching and writing his books Read the rest of this entry »

Mother Teresa.quote
You might want to bookmark this, because it’s updated regularly: Who Is Running for President (and Who’s Not)? Most recently, it’s former New York governor George Pataki, who’s been out of office since 2006.

Obama To Posthumously Award “Harlem Hellfighter” With Medal Of Honor For Heroism on June 2, 2015. That would be Sgt. Henry Johnson, who I wrote about HERE.

On July 28th, 1917: Between 8,000 and 10,000 African-Americans marched against lynching and anti-black violence in a protest known as The Silent Parade.

“Playing the Race Card”: A Transatlantic Perspective.

The Milwaukee Experiment. How to stop mass incarceration.

The Mystery of Screven County by Ken Screven.

From SSRN: Bruce Bartlett on How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics.

Does Color Even Exist? “What you see is only what you see.”
Read the rest of this entry »

henry.wwi-johnson2Buried on page 98 of the 697-page H.R.3979, the Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, passed in December of 2014, it reads:

(b) HENRY JOHNSON.—
(1) WAIVER OF TIME LIMITATIONS.—Notwithstanding the time limitations specified in section 3744 of title 10, United States Code, or any other time limitation with respect to the awarding of certain medals to persons who served in the Armed Forces, the President may award the Medal of Honor under section 3741 of such title to Henry Johnson for the acts of valor during World War I Read the rest of this entry »

above-the-dreamless-dead-1I was reading about World War I trench poetry remembered in comics anthology, and it hit me how relatively little most Americans know about the first World War (1914-1918), the “War to end all wars,” as someone put it, terribly incorrectly.

And it’s not its remoteness in time Read the rest of this entry »

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