Update: The blogathon has begun! You can catch direct links to Saturday’s posts here. The wonderful Sunday contributors are here.
World War One. It is the centennial year of what is, in my opinion, one of the most significant events in all of human history and the general reaction has been… meh.
Look, I know that WWII gets all the attention, especially in the film department. Fighting Nazis is never going to go out of style and I can respect that but the groundwork for 2 was laid by 1.
So, how did WWI start? Well, an Austrian was killed by a Serb in Bosnia, which meant that Russia and France went to war against Germany and Turkey (and sometimes Italy), which threatened Belgium, which was the pal of England, which loaded a passenger ship with weapons, which the Germans sank, which annoyed the Yanks… I think Peter O’Toole and Humphrey Bogart come into this somewhere as well.
Basically, a bunch of people were like this:
And then everyone else was like this:
Another explanation, and a rather amusing one, has been circulating around the interenet (it’s quite long so I hid it under a toggler):
[toggler title=”Click to read ‘If WWI was a bar fight'” ]Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together in the middle of a pub when Serbia bumps into Austria and spills Austria’s pint. Austria demands Serbia buy it a complete new suit because there are splashes on its trouser leg. Germany expresses its support for Austria’s point of view. Britain recommends that everyone calm down a bit.
Serbia points out that it can’t afford a whole suit, but offers to pay for the cleaning of Austria’s trousers. Russia and Serbia look at Austria. Austria asks Serbia who it’s looking at. Russia suggests that Austria should leave its little brother alone. Austria inquires as to whose army will assist Russia in compelling it to do so.
Germany appeals to Britain that France has been looking at it, and that this is sufficiently out of order that Britain should not intervene. Britain replies that France can look at who it wants to, that Britain is looking at Germany too, and what is Germany going to do about it? Germany tells Russia to stop looking at Austria, or Germany will render Russia incapable of such action.
Britain and France ask Germany whether it’s looking at Belgium. Turkey and Germany go off into a corner and whisper. When they come back, Turkey makes a show of not looking at anyone. Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at France, and punches Belgium. France and Britain punch Germany. Austria punches Russia. Germany punches Britain and France with one hand and Russia with the other. Russia throws a punch at Germany, but misses and nearly falls over. Japan calls over from the other side of the room that it’s on Britain’s side, but stays there. Italy surprises everyone by punching Austria.
Australia punches Turkey, and gets punched back. There are no hard feelings because Britain made Australia do it. France gets thrown through a plate glass window, but gets back up and carries on fighting. Russia gets thrown through another one, gets knocked out, suffers brain damage, and wakes up with a complete personality change. Italy throws a punch at Austria and misses, but Austria falls over anyway.
Italy raises both fists in the air and runs round the room chanting. America waits till Germany is about to fall over from sustained punching from Britain and France, then walks over and smashes it with a barstool, then pretends it won the fight all by itself. By now all the chairs are broken and the big mirror over the bar is shattered. Britain, France and America agree that Germany threw the first punch, so the whole thing is Germany’s fault. While Germany is still unconscious, they go through its pockets, steal its wallet, and buy drinks for all their friends.[/toggler]
And that is the highly simplified explanation. Wow. I see why everyone sticks with the Nazis as villains. The First World War was nasty, brutal, bloody and pointless. It also pretty much created the modern world as we know it. Still, there were no white hats and a distressing number of black hats. As wars go… it’s complicated.
Well, Lea over at Silent-ology asked if I was up to joining her blogathon and I naturally agreed, history nerd that I am. We are going to be looking at how the First World War was treated in classic motion pictures. This is where you come in. We like you! We would love to have you join us on this historical voyage.
Right here and over at Silent-ology. Lea will take the first day, I will take the second.
September 6 & 7, 2014. If you have a date preference, please let us know. Otherwise, we will divide the participants evenly between us.
What can I contribute?
A review of any movie made in or before 1970 that is about the First World War. Films that concern the aftermath of the war and the plight of veterans are also accepted and encouraged. You are also welcome to review films made during the war that touch on the world events of the time.
Do these have to be Hollywood movies?
No! International cinema is quite welcome. And, obviously, you get extra kudos from us if you cover a silent film but that is not a requirement. Extra special kudos if you dig up something from the Central Powers point of view.
What else can I write about?
Articles on stars, producers and directors and their lives during wartime. Articles about aspects of the war and how they changed the trajectory of the film industry. Basically, if it has to do with WWI and classic film, we want it.
What about duplicates?
In order to encourage variety, no duplicates, please.
Our wish lists
Need ideas? These are movies we are particularly keen to see claimed.
[column size=one_half position=first ]Fritzi’s list:
She Goes to War (1929 drama about a woman who disguises herself as a man and endures the hardships of the western front.)
Joan the Woman (1916, Joan of Arc gets a WWI frame story. Epic in every sense of the word.)[/column]
[column size=one_half position=last ]Lea’s list:
Scraps of Paper
Silent-ology | Hearts of the World (1918)
Movies Silently | The Heart of Humanity (1918) and Barbed Wire (1927)
Once Upon a Screen | Paths of Glory (1957)
MovieFanFare | J’accuse (1919 and 1938 versions)
My Classic Movies | Doughboys (1930)
moviemovieblogblog | Shoulder Arms (1918)
The Motion Pictures | Wings (1927)
Critica Retro | Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938)
Wide Screen World | La Grande Illusion (1937)
Nitrate Glow | The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1920)
Cinematic Catharsis | The Little American (1918)
Coolsville | For Me and My Gal (1942)
The Hitless Wonder | I was a Spy (1933)
Moon in Gemini | South (1920)
The Cinematic Packrat | Article on Basil Rathbone’s service in the war
Hitchcock’s World | Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Rick’s Cafe Texan | The African Queen (1951)
Girls Do Film | Hell’s Angels (1930)
Mildred’s Fatburgers | The Dawn Patrol (1930 and 1938 versions)
Silver Screenings | Nurse Edith Cavell (1939)
Jeff Rapsis | The Strong Man (1926)
Sister Celluloid | The Road Back (1937)
100 Films in a Year | The Battle of the Somme (1916)
ImagineMDD | Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Immortal Ephemera | The Last Flight (1931)
A Shroud of Thoughts | Sergeant York (1941)
Spellbound by Movies | Dark Journey (1937)
Pre-Code.com | Sky Devils (1932)
Into the Beautiful New | Westfront 1918 (1930) and Outskirts aka The Patriots (Окраина) (1933)
The Movie Rat | Pack Up Your Troubles (1932)
Destroy All Fanboys | The Big Parade (1925) and The Blue Max (1966)
Portraits by Jenni | A Farewell to Arms (1932)
Caftan Woman | Ever in My Heart (1933)
At the Sovereign | Wooden Crosses (1932)
Big V Riot Squad | A selection of short propaganda movies including The Leopard’s Spots, Patriotic Porkers, British Effort and British and German newsreels.
Random Pictures | King & Country (1964)
Lit. and a Latte | Article on Mata Hari
Feet of Mud | A Soldier’s Plaything (1930)
Speakeasy | The Eagle and the Hawk (1933)
A Person in the Dark | Mata Hari (1931)
Silent Volume | What Price Glory? (1926) and All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)
historyonfilm.com | Dishonored (1931)