in about 100 words or less
UK 77m, B&W, Silent
Editors: Charles Urban and G.H. Malins
Now almost 100-years-old, The Battle of the Somme was captured on film by cinematographers, G.H. Malins and J.B. McDowell for the British government, and contains footage which documents the lead up to, and the first few days of the battle. When the film was released on August 10th, the battle was still underway, and audiences were by that time aware of the massive casualties. Though there are a few staged battle scenes, for the most part, the footage is genuine, which is particularly evident by the change in the soldier’s demeanor before and after the commencement of the battle. Originally devised as a propaganda film, and highly controversial upon its release, it was a major success as a source of news for British audiences who were also hoping to catch a glimpse of someone they knew. With no living survivors of this experience, this film, and others like it, now serve as important historical documents (Klaus Ming April 2016).