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  • Writer's pictureTroy Kinney


We went to see They Shall Not Grow Old the other afternoon. It was 4 o'clock on a Monday and I figured the theater would be empty. It was not. There is interest in this film, and rightly so. This documentary is quite different than most others.

There is no lone voice narrator leading us through the film clips telling the audience what is going on, who the major players were and all such stuffs like that. It is narrated by the voices of the soldiers that were there. They tell their stories as they remember it. It is exceptional.

In hearing these men, the audience begins to grasp their mindset. It is not the mindset often heard today. These men speak well of duty and hard work. They are exclusively dedicated to a cause, a purpose, the greater good. The way things were was the way they were and they did what needed to be done.

The movie does have a subtle/gradual arc. I would sum it up as the days in the lives of the WWI foot soldier on the battlefront. It starts as the war is beginning, goes through recruitment, training, the war itself and all of its sundry elements, the ugly, bad and some good, and guides us past the end of the war.

The film actually looks great and because of this Jackson and his team were able to instill some “camera techniques.” Much of it has been colorized and sound has been added to the clips. This gives it a cinematic feel and this is good.

The techniques used to bring these 100-year-old film reels to life is quite extraordinary. During our screening, at the beginning of the film, Peter Jackson appears on screen and talks to the audience inviting us to stay after the credits where they will show some of the behind the scenes techniques and motives in the making of the film. This was worth it.

The movie is a limited engagement and will be shown again on December 27, 2018. If you are at all interested in history, particularly WWI, I would make an effort to see this film in theaters.

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