They Grow Not Old

ere's a movie I've always wanted to make. This is a WW1 drama set during the Great Spring Offensive (Kaiserschlacht). The action takes pla...

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ere's a movie I've always wanted to make. This is a WW1 drama set during the Great Spring Offensive (Kaiserschlacht). The action takes place on the first day of Operation Michael (21st of March 1918) somewhere near the town of Peronne on the Somme river. I've spent ten years researching The Great War, so I've made sure this movie is about as realistic as The Movies allows. I think it's my best achievement to date.

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By the way, if you want to see the movie as it was meant to be seen, please download the full sized (144MB) version. It's available from
www.beerymod.com/TheyGrowNotOld.wmv
and I really urge people to get this version if they can, as some scenes lose a lot from being compressed so much.

Please, if you like this movie, check out my other movies. They are different genres, but the same quality of filmmaking.

Now on to the responses to some of the criticisms:

Firstly, a couple of reviewers say they didn't care when one of the characters died. Frankly, the style and length of the movie doesn't allow for in-depth character portrayals. I think it says a lot about our society when a movie can portray a death and people respond that they don't care. It's a sad commentary that people have to feel they know a character intimately before his death becomes a tragedy. One of my wife's workmates was just killed in a car accident the other day. She was 22 years old. I didn't know her at all - don't even know what she looked like, but I still appreciate that her death is a tragedy. Perhaps if movies in general didn't treat death so casually, we might not feel that we need to have our emotions manipulated by the filmmaker in order to be able to feel sorrow. Maybe this is why Gus van Sant's movie 'Elephant' (which refused to manipulate its audience's emotions) was so misunderstood by so many people. People have become used to films spoonfeeding them emotional content.

Some have criticised the lack of voiceover narration. This was a conscious decision on my part. The subtitles add to the sense of a silent movie (for that WWI feel). I was going for as little human sound as possible - making the background track more important to the feel of the movie, just as it would have been in a movie made at that time. Also, I wanted the main character to have a voice imagined by the viewer, and not one imposed by me. I thought this was important because the characters in the film can then be any nationality that fought against the Germans (British, Australian, Canadian, Scots, South African, etc.) - I felt a voiceover would have ruined that 'everyman' quality that the narrator has.

Other things to note:

The main characters are cavalrymen. That's why they ride horses in the first couple of scenes. Except for the first few weeks of the war, cavalry in WW1 found themselves used as infantry most of the time. Kaiserschlacht was unusual in that it featured the use of mounted cavalry prominently on both sides.

A Field Ambulance is not an ambulance as we would know it. In WW1 that's what they called a mobile hospital unit - like a M.A.S.H unit.

Some liberties have been taken for dramatic effect:

1. The mist on that day was not as dense as portrayed in the movie, and when it cleared the day became sunny.
2. There was a massive bombardment in the early hours of March 21st (the soldiers could not have confused it with the usual daily bombardment), and it included gas shells. But if I had put gas masks on my characters, you wouldn't see their expressions, which would take away from the dramatic impact of a couple of scenes.
3. The game doesn't feature realistic British WW1 rifles, helmets or equipment. Nor does it include the German light machine gun that was in use at the time. Some of these things I've had to improvise.
4. An apparent omission is trenches. However, in this battle the trench system was under construction, and many British units found themselves fighting in open ground. This was especially the case after the front lines had been overrun.
Action, 2002

    * Digital Stock,
    * Digital Recording,
    * Digital Camera,
    * Digital Sound

Uploaded Monday 28. Nov 2005
Length 6 mins 46 secs

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Beery1


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Registered 30th November 2005

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