According to official sources, 20 million tickets for this film were sold (in the UK) in the first 6 weeks. That would equal about half the population of Britain at the time (43 million). It has been said that this record was not broken until the release of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) more than 60 years later. See more »
In the "over the top" sequence one of the "dead" soldiers turns his head towards the camera and then shifts his leg into a more comfortable position showing that the scene was staged/re-enacted. See more »
The documentary is a genre that was born at the same time as the cinema itself because at the beginning the cinematographer was there to reflect and capture daily events of varying degrees of importance: the arrival of a train to a station, the exit of the proletarian masses from the factories or even the exciting view of the parishioners going in and out of church. It followed that the new invention was a perfect instrument to display images, costumes and events that would interest older people as well as the new long haired generation.
But "The Battle Of The Somme" it is not a trivial show of mundane events during the early times of the cinema; it is a document of a great importance for film history and history itself. The film depicts the terrible and largest WWI battle; it happened in a long front north and south of the River Somme in northern France and was a huge battle in which more than a million people from different nationalities died. The film is an exceptional document of the horrors of war that shows the great magnitude of that that tragic war or really any war. This conflict changed Europedrastically ( the end of the innocence ) and, even worse, rather than deter future wars, it only led the way to the even more terrible WWII. The film was photographed, not directed,-there is a big difference between those terms- by the British official cinematographers Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell whose primary intention was to film such an important battle but since they ended up shooting quite a lot footage, the British Topical Committee for War Films decided to release it as the first feature-length documentary film that depicts war combat. The film is structured and divided into different parts in which can be seen the different war preliminaries and the consequences of the battle, besides the tactics and arms used in the WWI. Since it was released during the war the movie functions as a propaganda film for the British Army. And of course it exposes to the civilians the horrors of war that was still raging. The film was shown in Great Britain and many countries of the world while the battles continued in France.
"The Battle Of The Somme" it is an exceptional war document of historical importance, a silent film that, although it seems a redundancy, doesn't need words.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave, because this German Count wants to wish that those disasters of war never happen again.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien
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