War­time movie in colour

Stratford Press - - News -

As Ar­mistice Day ap­proaches, Peter Jack­son has pro­duced a doc­u­men­tary film that could be his finest con­tri­bu­tion to the four-year com­mem­o­ra­tion.

The pro­duc­tion, They Shall Not Grow Old, pre­miered in Lon­don to good re­views and plays in Strat­ford this Sun­day.

Re­view­ers talk about how much more im­me­di­ate the war seems, un­like the fad­ing grey tones of ar­chive film. They no­tice the youth of the sol­diers. With faces flesh­toned rather than grey, au­di­ences will be moved by the re­al­i­sa­tion that those who went, fought and died for their coun­try were young. It sounds like a fit­ting cli­max to the cen­te­nary, a thun­der­ing re­minder of how ter­ri­ble that war was. New Zealand made much of the Gal­lipoli cen­te­nary in 2015 and re­called the Somme in 2016 and Pass­chen­daele a year ago. But ev­ery time it be­came hard to sus­tain in­ter­est in events of hor­ror, it was a re­minder of how much harder it must have been for those alive at the time, liv­ing with the hor­ror and not know­ing when it would end. It will soon be the cen­te­nary of the end, Novem­ber 11, Ar­mistice Day. If it is prov­ing hard to give due thought to the war’s last cen­te­nary, that re­sponse is his­tor­i­cally fit­ting. His­to­ri­ans tell us the ar­mistice was not greeted with the scenes of pub­lic ju­bi­la­tion fa­mil­iar from news­reels of World War II con­clu­sions. Peo­ple were too ex­hausted, too de­pleted, too many men were maimed, too many were not com­ing back. And an ar­mistice did not sound con­clu­sive. It lasted only 20 years. But the sec­ond war would not be the same. Jack­son is giv­ing World War I’s cen­te­nary a fit­ting con­clu­sion that might never fade.

He­len Lind­ley, man­ager of the TET Kings Theatre in Strat­ford, says she is de­lighted They Shall Not Grow Old will screen at the theatre this Sun­day on Ar­mistice day it­self.

“Strat­ford has, through its own war hero Lieu­tenant Colonel Wil­liam Mal­one, a very spe­cial con­nec­tion with the war, and so it is fit­ting we screen this movie on Novem­ber 11.”

The movie is likely to be pop­u­lar, says He­len, so pre­sales will be avail­able as well as door sales on the day.

The theatre team is pro­vid­ing free tea and cof­fee at all movie screen­ings and will be avail­able at the show­ing of They Shall Not Grow Old as well.

When He­len first took on the role of man­ager, she told the Strat­ford Press she was keen to bring a range of films to Strat­ford. She says as well as this movie, she has also ar­ranged to show She Shears later this year. This was not orig­i­nally a movie they had booked to come here, but af­ter be­ing ap­proached by mem­bers of a Ru­ral Women’s group, He­len se­cured it.

“I am re­ally pleased peo­ple are telling us what movies they want here and I want peo­ple to know we are def­i­nitely lis­ten­ing.”

■ They Shall Not Grow Old screens at Strat­ford’s TET Kings Theatre at 2pm on Novem­ber 11. Rat­ing: RP16 (Graphic con­tent may dis­turb). Run Time: 99 min­utes.

They Shall Not Grow Old plays in Strat­ford on Ar­mistice Day.

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