Why are there not more WWI films? All I see is WW2

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by todd stone, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. todd stone

    todd stone Screenwriter

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    nt
     
  2. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    You mean recently, or ever?

    There's

    The African Queen

    The Dawn Patrol

    The Grand Illusion

    Lawrence of Arabia

    The Big Parade

    for starters
     
  3. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    Don't forget "All Quiet On The Western Front"
     
  4. Nick_Scott

    Nick_Scott Second Unit

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    There was a WW1 movie "made-for-cble" a few months ago. I think it was on A&E? called "The Lost Battalion"?

    Not sure, but it had the SPR-style cinematography.... and seemed fairly well made for a Cable production.

    I remember saying to myself: "I hope this comes to DVD...."
     
  5. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    Also let's not forget Paths of Glory.
     
  6. Aaron Wisner

    Aaron Wisner Agent

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    ww1 doesn't have that whole "righteous cause" aspect that ww2 has.

    besides, combat was relatively silly. trench warfare is not too fun to watch.
     
  7. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

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  8. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    First ever Best Picture Oscar - Wings (1927).

    Great Waldo Pepper

    Zeppelin

    Gallipoli

    Farewell to Arms (1932 AND 1957)

    ...

    I don't think the fact that there are (were) less WWI movie made than WWII has anything at all to do with "excitement" or "Righteous Cause".

    If you think about it, the bulk of WWII movies were made from post WWII to around 1970 (how many WWII films were made from 1971 to say, right before Saving Private Ryan???). Within that 25 years or so movie making was really exploding (as compare to the 20 years between WWI and WWII 1917~1938), there were a LOT of WWII uniforms, tanks, planes around, whereas doing a WWI movie involved a great deal more expense just to recreat the WWI uniform, not to mention large number of airships, biplanes, first generation tanks, all these have all but disappeared in any reasonable quantity after WWII.

    Location also favors WWII movies, as I beleive as late as when The Longest Day was made (mid 60s), old bunkers and such were still available on location in some of the French Beaches to film the landing, whereas if somebody wanted to do the famous Battle of Verdun, they basically have to restage the battle soemwhere else, as the old battlefield was totally changed/destroyed during WWII.
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    There are a variety of reasons. First, World War I took place before, and so it's overshadowed by World War II. Second, there are a lot of Jews in Hollywood and World War II is more important from a cultural-religious standpoint (the Holocaust) Third, Saving Private Ryan was a hit, and Hollywood likes to emulate proven formulas. There are many other reasons I can't remember to mention.
     
  10. Aaron Wisner

    Aaron Wisner Agent

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    actually that sounds really silly to me. talk about retarded tactics.

    anyway i was referring to trench combat in action films. it's basically one side charges the other, gets shot up, retreats, then the other side charges. whee.
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Adam's sentence implys clarification as to what you're calling silly. You just joined HTF four days ago, so let me say that spirited discussion is welcome on HTF but disrespectful and insulting comments are not allowed here. Maybe, you need to read our posting guidelines again. By the way, welcome to the forum.
    Robert Crawford
    HTF Administrator
     
  12. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    I wish they'd put The Blue Max, Dawn Patrol, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Hell's Angels and Wings out on DVD.
     
  13. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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    Aaron, you've insulted me twice. Now you've insulted Aaron's well thought out response. Please don't do that. Oh well. Yep, WWII is overshadows WWI. Trench warfare is very nasty, and is not at all silly. Trench warfare wasn't nonexistent in WWII either.

    As to why more WWI films aren't made nowadays, I have no idea. It could be just as interesting as WWII films, if handled right. I guess Hollywood feels WWII is more interesting as material. Or maybe that WWII is fresher in our minds.
     
  14. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    I think if the current trend for war films keeps up then Hollywood will eventually come around to some WWI films. WWII is getting the most attention but other stories are also trickling out. Black Hawk Down is from the 90's and We Were Soldiers is a Vietnam film, for instance. But maybe one reason that we haven't seen nearly as much, though, might simply be that it isn't generally thought of as a United States war, at least not to the extent of WWII. We came into it relatively late.

    There's some potentially fascinating material to do with WWI because of the transitional nature of the war. I think that was the first war in which armies' out-dated tactics were exposed by all the new technology that was coming out at the time. Machine guns, tanks, CHEMICAL WEAPONS...stuff that most soldiers just weren't prepared for because they had literally never encountered it. If you want to show that war is hell, there aren't many more apt wars than WWI.
     
  15. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    The study of the history of WWI has never had the following that WWII has had. The interest in the German army in WWII has always had a large group of followers, but I would never call their cause 'just'.

    To break the deadlock of trench warfare, both side toward the end of WWI developed tactics and strategies that would not be efficiently employed for over twenty years. The Germans and Irwin Rommell began to implement 'infiltration' tactics. Small teams of motivated and trained soldiers, supported by artilery, and whatever other means were available were to break through the lines and penetrate into the rear of the enemy to disrupt communications. Certainly a bit too simple of an analysis, but SPR is one of many WWII films that employs a squad as a central motif to tell a story. It simply is more interesting to see a group of men interacting, using their initiative and not acting as cannon fodder.

    Tanks were developed to breach the trenches, but in WWII they were still underdeveloplment, were too slow (just like the general pace of the conflict) and were used in a tactical sense instead of employed strategicaly. I regret that WWII films have done a poor job in depicting tank warefare.

    Aircraft. Got a major boost in WWII, but were still not a decisive arm as they developed into during WWII. WWII films have done a much better job at portraying air combat than tank warefare, but still have a ways to go. Again, I think the aspect that a single man or a few men are on their own to pit their skill and dedication against a foe bent on their destruction creats endless opportunities for drama.

    I think WWI and Civil War warefare and the culture of the times should have a wider film audience. These two conflicts probably had an even bigger impact on world history than did WWII.
     
  16. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Bottom line: It's just not as much fun to hate the Kaiser as it is to hate Hitler and the Nazis. They make a better villian (because they really were so much more villianous).
     
  17. andrew markworthy

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    There's a whole host of reasons why WWI has never produced the rash of movies WWII has:

    (a) the nature of the warfare; following the innovations of blitzkreig warfare by the Germans, war became far more dynamic than it had been for nearly half a century. Trench warfare largely consisted of months of boredom and in *some* places unbelievable squalour (some of the apparent lunacies in Blackadder IV, such as eating rats are uncomfortably close to the truth) followed by mass slaughter. Historians have pointed out that overall, the death rate in trench combat wasn't all that different from in other campaigns, but rarely has death been so concentrated. The upshot is that most trench warfare doesn't make for good action pictures. It's interesting that many of the WWI films which have been made have concentrated on flying rather than ground combat.

    (b) WWI, because of its long periods of inactivity followed by frenetic slaughter is rather more suited to psychological studies. However, Hollywood and sensitive psychological studies don't really mix. There have been some decent movies on this topic, however, even if they are thin on the ground - e.g. All Quiet on the Western Front and Regeneration.

    (c) I suspect that because WWI produced far more 'obviously' sick war veterans (and certainly far more cases of post traumatic stress disorder, or shell shock as it was called then), people probably didn't want to be reminded of the war to the same extent.

    (d) I'm not sure the 'Jewish issue' [please don't flame me for that phrase, I couldn't think of any other] has been a major factor in promoting WWII movies. There are remarkably few war films, particularly immediately post-war which deal with the topic. Most seem to involve John Wayne winning the war in Burma single-handed (and don't get a Brit started on John Wayne's WWII movies...).

    (e) I think in recent years when WWI movies have been made, they've been done with a strong anti-establishment slant, because the conflict was so evidently wrong. It was an imperialist issue which escalated when Britain launched itself into the fight for no good reason (contrary to modern received opinion, the treaty with Belgium did not oblige the UK to defend the country, and the Brit government of the day knew it; the decision about whether or not to fight was a much closer-run thing than is popularly supposed). Regeneration is a good case in point, as is Gallipoli (though its rabidly anti-British tone is strongly at odds with historical fact).
     
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  19. Nick_Scott

    Nick_Scott Second Unit

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    Bill is right, "The Lost Batallion" is coming out in a couple days.

    Here are the specs:

    Release Information:

    Studio: A & E Entertainment

    Theatrical Release Date: January 1, 2002

    DVD Release Date: January 29, 2002

    Run Time: 100 minutes

    Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)

    Edition Details:

    • Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)

    • Color

    • Bonus program from The History Channel: Dear Home: Letters from World War I

    • Rick Schroder biography and filmography

    Well, looks like a pretty lame DVD, but its $14 at AMAZON, and the movie itself is pretty good, so I'll be buying it.
     
  20. Terry H

    Terry H Second Unit

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    I can't believe nobody mentioned Sergeant York. Got something against Gary Cooper? [​IMG]
     

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