The Battle of the Somme was not only the bloodiest Western Front battle of WWI, it was one of the bloodiest military conflicts in human history, with over 1 million casualties. The subsequent documentary made by Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell has become an important piece of cinematic history, as well as an often-mined source of footage for WWI.
Over the past 25 years, one man’s obsession with this film, and the battle itself, has inspired him to film all the locations from Malins and McDowell’s documentary with a Canon XHA1 camcorder, and that footage became a genuinely moving thirty-minute documentary and homage to the Somme.
Titled “The Somme Then and Now,” the film superimposes inlays of footage from the war over modern HD footage of those locations. We counted about twenty five locations included in the film.
Projects like this do a great job of bringing the past closer to the present and making major historical events more tangible. After all, the Somme didn’t just exist in textbooks and old war movies. That battle really happened, and those places still exist. It’s good to be reminded of that, as well as the toll it took, from time to time.
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