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"Surprised to see so little discussion on 1917" Topic

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Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2020 7:55 a.m. PST

I'm surprised there has been so little discussion on 1917 here. I only saw this one thread discussing it, and not much really there.

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Even the recent Midway got more discussion as did Dunkirk.

We all clamor for movies that might appeal to us as an audience so I'm curious why so little discussion about it here.

I would heartily recommend it, especially on a big screen with good sound system. It's not perfect, and I would urge you to go see with without any pre-conceived expectations so as not to ruin your enjoyment, but I believe it's one of the better war related movies I've seen in some time.

I enjoyed it far more than Dunkirk (I don't know why- I REALLY looked forward to Dunkirk, expected to be blown away by it and came out of the theater mostly disappointed).

I don't want to give anything away, but would be curious if you did see it what you thought? By a simple see it in the theater, rent it, skip it scale, I'd give it a see it in the theater.

Dagwood20 Jan 2020 8:07 a.m. PST

I enjoyed it. See it in the theatre.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2020 8:40 a.m. PST

t certainly seems to be racking up some awards – havent seen it yet – but planning on it later this week

genew4920 Jan 2020 8:45 a.m. PST

I saw it last week; liked it a lot. Nice crowd in theater at a 12:40 pm showing.

Bigby Wolf20 Jan 2020 9:00 a.m. PST

Saw it. Enjoyed most of it immensely (less so the 2nd half TBH).

I also watched Dunkirk with high expectations but left the cinema very disappointed (I thought everything was way too clean, and there was zero sense of the true scale of the events).

I think I've just stopped discussing media much online as such discussions too often devolve into flame wars. Too many people seem intent on "proving" to you that "No! You CAN'T possibly like/dislike "whatever" BECAUSE…"

I know what I do or don't enjoy, and don't really care much for anyone else's opinion on that :)

hetzer Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2020 10:09 a.m. PST

I didn't see what all the fuss was about. Not a very good movie, IMO.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2020 11:20 a.m. PST


Its a Ok Movie but it lacks storytelling. I just didn't really care about the 2 Soldiers or for that matter the "doomed" regiment. The Main character seems to do a lot of foolish things, that no experienced Soldier would do. A lot of the story was just a way to paint a picture of the setting of WW1 Trench warfare.

Prince Alberts Revenge20 Jan 2020 11:36 a.m. PST

I enjoyed it. I thought the visual experience was top notch. Where there was a chance for the actors to come through and deliver, I thought they they did (especially Lance Corporal Schofield). The story was a little thin and we didn't really get much character development (although we did get some towards the end from Schofield).

I thought there were some truly moving moments but I thought that perhaps it could have used an additional 10-15 minutes of character development.

One question, why didn't they try to airdrop the message instead of sending some runners? I realize that would have robbed us of the main storyline.

Bigby Wolf20 Jan 2020 11:42 a.m. PST

One huge thing that I felt was lacking was an overhead view of the trench systems for appreciation of scale. I know it wouldn't have matched the "continuous take" gimmickry (that actually annoyed me a few times…), but I'd have appreciated it.

14Bore20 Jan 2020 11:49 a.m. PST

Just saw it yesterday afternoon, thought a good movie worth
going to. Thinking about it today reasoned it was 1917 is beginning of the war so the trench lines were not spread out in depth yet. But think it gives a glimpse of what was coming.

PJ ONeill20 Jan 2020 12:25 p.m. PST

14- The war started in 1914, plenty of trenches by 1917.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2020 12:31 p.m. PST

14Bore, are you counting from America's entry? By 1917, they've been digging those trenches for three years, and in 1918, there's movement. At a guess, I'd pick 1917 as the year for the most extensive trench networks.

A wargaming friend checked the movie out, and did not report back favorably--largely on the grounds stated: there was no reason to do things the way they were doing them. Add to that my distinct lack of interest in the period. I know Hollywood loves trench warfare: it goes with the whole "war is bad and generals are idiots" theme. But I find it depressing and hard to game. If I come out of the theater depressed, I'd at least better get a good game out of it.

Desert Rat20 Jan 2020 1:02 p.m. PST

I think Sam Mendes has played a little too much Call of Duty.

Saying that, the cinematography is amazing with incredible sweeping single shots of detailed (although, in some places, unrealistic) terrain.

jdpintex20 Jan 2020 1:10 p.m. PST

Great Movie. Make sure you see it on the biggest screen possible.

It should be a shoo in for the cinematography oscar.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Jan 2020 1:37 p.m. PST

I enjoyed the Robert Scott lieutenant scene very much.

14Bore20 Jan 2020 1:58 p.m. PST

robert your right, hadn't thought of that

CeruLucifus20 Jan 2020 3:07 p.m. PST

Definitely worth the ticket price.

The story does turn on a narrative gimmick, similar to "Saving Private Ryan", in that the script had to contrive something for the characters to do for the director to portray the panoply of war through their eyes.

The continuous take format is effective but I agree could have been augmented with some overhead shots of the trench system to help the audience's sense of place. At each location, the characters knew where they were going, so it wouldn't have robbed the story much.

If we're going to nitpick, I can't believe all those bolt action misses in the nighttime streets at short range. Lucky nobody was carrying a pistol!

Last, the singing of the hymn is perfectly placed at its stage of the story. uplifting and poignant.

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2020 3:13 p.m. PST

Liked the movie. As I understand it the the story was based on a family history that was not much more than grandfather used to tell about beimg sent to deliver a message and not much more.

Didn't, dare it say, Mel Gibson do a WWI movie where he and another fellow were sent with a message to stop an attack. I seem to remember they almost made it.

Dynaman878920 Jan 2020 4:06 p.m. PST

Mel was in the movie Gallipoli as a younger man. Besides that I have no idea what the plot was about.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2020 4:15 p.m. PST

Gallipoli is about Australians who volunteered during WWI and were sent to Turkey. Peter Weir directed it. It was released in 1981. I thought it was pretty good when I saw it back then.

Historydude1820 Jan 2020 4:28 p.m. PST

I've seen it twice and enjoyed it. Only wish they had combat scenes showing the capture of a trench and the fighting that occurred in them.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP21 Jan 2020 2:35 a.m. PST

Saw it yesterday & enjoyed it.

Stoppage21 Jan 2020 5:05 a.m. PST

Good film – saw it on IMAX screen – excellent visuals & sound.

The detail is good. UK made stuff then. The prematurely-aged officer and senior nco look added authenticity.

Reminded me of being in Army Cadets on Salisbury Plain with our No4 rifles. Especially the chalky-mud – very slippery when wet, caked-hard when dry.

Made me double-pleased I wasn't there – unlike Grandpa who was in the West Riding Regiment.

newarch21 Jan 2020 8:16 a.m. PST

@Robert Piepenbrink it goes with the whole "war is bad and generals are idiots" theme. But I find it depressing and hard to game.

I absolutely agree with that statement. I was very impressed with Peter Jackson's WW1 in Colour in this respect, the interviews they used with the footage were iirc from before the mid-1960s before the lions led by donkeys narrative became prevalent. It is revealing that many of the people who signed up felt that life as a soldier was preferable in terms of respect from their employer and job satisfaction to their civilian life.

DeRuyter21 Jan 2020 9:39 a.m. PST

@Robert Piepenbrink and @newarch:

Yes but on this occasion the general is the one calling off the attack.

I just saw it and the one shot technic works well to limit the perspective to the 2 corporals charged to deliver the message. It gives you a closed in feeling, that is not knowing much about the big picture or what is coming up over the ridge until the characters see it. Very well done from that point. It could have used a bit more character development true. Definitely worth seeing in the movies vs. the tele IMO.

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP21 Jan 2020 11:14 a.m. PST

My sister-in-law said as a group of us walked out of the Theater " why didn't they tie a message to a rock & drop it out of an airplane?" They answer was $15.00 USD a ticket!

Good movie. Visually stunning. I try not to overly historical analyze movies, ruins the evening out with family & friends.

Lascaris21 Jan 2020 1:42 p.m. PST

My wife and I enjoyed this very much. The "deconstruction" of Schofield, who starts off as a fairly cynical soldier and, at his lowest point, is bereft of gun, helmet, food and hope and his "reconstruction" to pulling out the picture of his wife and child and, I imagine, envisioning that he may get back to them some day was very well done, imho.

14Bore21 Jan 2020 1:45 p.m. PST

Maybe just a minute of the dogfight to show a overview of the ground wouldn't have been that hard.

von Schwartz21 Jan 2020 6:39 p.m. PST

Saw it the other day, good flic, recommend it. However, the pundit in me watched it with more critical eye than most. I do not have expertise with WWI and more specifically the British army in WWI. A few questions came to my fevered brain.
1. When did the Brits go to multiple battalion regiments? I know about the 60th and 95th rifles and some guards units but they said that the primary unit in question here was of two battalions some 1,600 soldiers.
2. When did the British military integrate their combat units? Saw a number of black soldiers in the trenches, The US was not fully integrated until after WWII.
3. Also, along a similar note, they depicted two Gurkas or possibly Sikh soldiers, not sure which, in their turbans. I thought they had their own separate formations, yes/no?

In addition, one other little peccadillos of mine: didn't they train their troops to "SPREAD OUT"? My gawd a well placed 3 second burst from a Maxim would've taken them both out.

Martin Rapier22 Jan 2020 4:19 a.m. PST

They have always had multi-battalion regiments (hence, 14th Battalion, Royal Hallamshires etc). Conventionally infantry battalions are referred to as regiments, even if they are actually battalions… it gets really confusing it if their parent formation is a Corps, which is actually a regiment, but is part of a brigade.

Yes, Sikhs, Ghurkas, West Africans etc fought in seperate units. The Indians were in a completly different army, the Indian Army being the largest all volunteer force ever raised. I suspect the mixed units were shown to show the diversity of combatants on the Western Front.

One thing the British Army didn't have in 1917 was semi-automatic Lee Enfields. It is necessary to cock it between each shot, not every other shot…. although there is a prototype semi-auto SMLE in Leeds Armouries, it has a fairly distinctive receiver.

kevin Major22 Jan 2020 6:30 a.m. PST

The British army expanded massively in WW1. Pre war most of the British Regiments had 2 battalions of Regulars and one or two battalions of Reservists/Territorials. To expand the army rather than create new Regiments an existing Regiment gained additional battalions (Pals battalions Conscript etc). Unlike say the American Army these battalions would not automatically serve together in the same Brigade/Division. Some such as the Guards units did but it was more common for the battalions to be in different Divisions and different theatres.
On the diversity issue. A British battalion raised in say East London could and did have great diversity of ethnicity. There was no enforced segregation. Regiments raised in say Indian and Africa would typically have native soldiers but white officers. This did change through the war and Black officers existed though uncommon.
The Sikhs in the truck are unlikely to have been part of the British unit but an Indian Cavalry Division served during the Somme campaign.
The Indian Army served in large numbers in 1914/15 on the Western front but suffered terribly from the weather due to inadequate clothing. They were moved on to other theatres as the British Army expanded. There role in holding the line is under appreciated in most histories.
The Richard Holmes book Tommy is a great read on all aspects of the life of a WW1 Tommy

Legion 422 Jan 2020 2:39 p.m. PST

I do look forward to seeing it.

PK Guy Brent02 Apr 2020 1:01 p.m. PST

I come to this discussion late…

We watched it a few days ago.


Didn't hate it, didn't like it. Compared to the two movies we watched a few days prior to it – "Midway" and "Ford vs. Ferrari", it came in a very distant third.

It felt contrived and like an expensive version of the movie "Gallipoli". Except that Gallipoli was much better.

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