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March to Aldermaston (1959)

6.7
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Title: March to Aldermaston (1959)

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Documentary | Short

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13 January 1961 (East Germany)  »

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Der Marsch nach Aldermaston  »

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Interesting and challenging but far longer than it can sustain and not developed sufficiently as a film
19 April 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A documentary looking at the anti-war, anti-nuclear bomb march starting on Good Friday in 1958. With interviews with those involved and footage from the entire march, the film captures the spirit of those trying to force change for the better as they get closer to the factory in Aldermaston.

It was by coincidence but it did help me interested in the film that I was watching it 49 years to the very day after the rally that starts this film and also starts the march of the title. In a way it amused me because here we are 50 years later having a debate about the future of the UK's nuclear weapon arsenal as we approach the time we need to decide on what replaces Trident. However the connection across the years also made me think how nothing really changes and the futility of protesting once those in power have made up their minds. I was trying not to be depressive but this march changed nothing in the same way as the larger swell of public protest against war in Iraq did nothing. It is encouraging to watch the people giving up their Easter weekend to show the strength of their opinion. Although I am cynical (realistic?) enough to doubt the outcome, such action is always uplifting as it contrasts well with the apathy that many people feel about issues – think how few people vote nowadays.

The film benefited from this connection and thought process because it is not that great in itself. It does make important points through narration Richard Burton but it spreads them too thinly across too much footage. If it had done a better job of providing more interest in the footage then it would have covered the gaps but it doesn't manage it and the film feels too long as a result. It ends strongly with pictures of the victims run against the march and with a challenge from the film to the viewer, which does rather save the film because this is the impression one is left with, but it is difficult to ignore the bagginess and length as you are watching it.


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