By Andrew Kelly
Cinema and the good battle concentrates on one a part of the paintings of the struggle: the cinema. Used as instrument for propaganda throughout the struggle itself, by means of the mid Nineteen Twenties cinema had started to mirror the rejection of clash generic in the entire arts. Andrew Kelly explores the advance of anti-war cinema in, Britain, the US, Germany and France from the ground-breaking Lay Down your palms, made through Bertha Von Suttner in 1914 and Lewis Milestone's sour All Quiet at the Western entrance via to Stanley Kubrick's wonderful Paths of Glory.
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Extra resources for Cinema and the Great War (Cinema and Society)
The doughboy is a committed civilian who, when aroused, becomes a dominant warrior, only to yearn for the blessings of peace. Here Vidor’s humanitarianism, which infused the film, was unable to overshadow the ambiguities of Stallings’s relationship to the war. Stallings and most of his comrades could never finally admit the possibility that the whole thing had been unnecessary, meaningless, disastrous. This would have made the loss of life and limb unbearable as well as tragic. 27 And Raymond Durgnat and Scott Simmon have said: Although The Big Parade…was often assumed to be ‘antiwar,’ Vidor’s comments at the time of release suggest a related, but different, view: war’s horrors are the precondition of war’s heroism.
You will be fighting in the greatest of all wars for the greatest cause for which any people ever contended. 40 After American entry, the film was withdrawn from many states following intervention by local censorship boards. Surprisingly, it was passed by the British censors. 41 The peace movement was split by the time America voted to intervene. Ford’s peace-ship initiative was but a distant memory by April 1917. 42 By now the film industry had been fully mobilised to support the expeditionary force: there was heavy censorship, anti-war pictures were banned, cinemas became the focus for patriotic rallies (a war tax was placed on admissions), movie stars sold liberty bonds and official propaganda films toured the country.
Ford’s peace-ship initiative was but a distant memory by April 1917. 42 By now the film industry had been fully mobilised to support the expeditionary force: there was heavy censorship, anti-war pictures were banned, cinemas became the focus for patriotic rallies (a war tax was placed on admissions), movie stars sold liberty bonds and official propaganda films toured the country. Prowar special interest groups were active, including the Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Defense League and the National Preparedness Society.
Cinema and the Great War (Cinema and Society) by Andrew Kelly