War Horse: The Real Story
Friday, 9.30pm, SBS One Though I have heard good things about the Steven Spielberg blockbuster War Horse, it’s one of those movies I just didn’t get around to seeing. I don’t think it matters very much when it comes to this documentary, a story about how the British Army took more than one million horses to World War I. Things began with a kind of conscription for horses, a massive call-up in which mounts from every farm in the land were requisitioned. In 1914, before the call-up, the British Army had just 26,000 horses. Some of the historical footage in this gripping and often moving documentary has been colourised, which adds a strangely contemporary element to the vision. For some reason a horse in colour seems much more vulnerable than a horse in black and white. Horses went to war and they fought and died alongside cavalrymen. They were no match for German machine-guns, and many died despite the best efforts of men on the frontlines to look after them. A terrific addition to stories of man’s bond with horse, and a belated acknowledgment of animals lost in war.