Cinema and the Great War (Cinema and Society) by Andrew Kelly

By Andrew Kelly

Cinema and the good struggle concentrates on one a part of the artwork of the conflict: the cinema. Used as software for propaganda in the course of the warfare itself, by means of the mid Twenties cinema had began to mirror the rejection of clash common in the entire arts. Andrew Kelly explores the advance of anti-war cinema in, Britain, the USA, Germany and France from the ground-breaking Lay Down your hands, made by way of Bertha Von Suttner in 1914 and Lewis Milestone's sour All Quiet at the Western entrance via to Stanley Kubrick's superb Paths of Glory.

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Example text

It was the antithesis of what people were then interested in. 30 These two reasons may be true; it was innovative—comparable, indeed, with nothing that had gone before— and by the end of 1916, America was on the verge of intervention and the film’s conclusion was at variance with the developing national mood. However, War Brides, a pacifist film that followed Intolerance, was a success. 31 Given that admissions had begun to wither well before America entered the war, it is this that seems the more likely explanation.

He is apprehensive, nervous, wide-eyed. He sees men fall dead and injured around him. When they are trapped in a shellhole the war becomes hell and the death of Slim and Bull shows Jim that it means the murder of his friends. This turns him briefly from benign indifference to a manic fighting machine as he rushes towards the German positions: ‘They got him! ’ This is not done for patriotism and glory, however. A sub-title reads: ‘Parades when we left and when we get back! ’ Jim soon avenges Slim’s death but is wounded and lies in a shellhole with the German soldier he has shot.

45 But they were crucial, as Louella Parsons illustrated in Photoplay in September 1918: If German vandalism could reach overseas, the Kaiser would order every moving picture studio crushed to dust and every theatre blown to atoms. There has been no more effective ammunition aimed at the Prussian empire than…pictures of German atrocities…. The followers of the cinema have seen with their own eyes how German militarism is waged against civilisation. They have seen the rape of Belgium, the devastation of France and the evil designs against America….

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