THE GREAT WAR and the LITTLE TRAMP 1918 - 1927
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(Jan 18, 2016)
THE GREAT WAR AND THE LITTLE TRAMP
Before World War II there was of course....World War I (and prior to WWII, it was known as "The Great War" - which gives one some idea of the gravitis this war once held in the public consciousness.) This DVD offers some important filmic documents of the period.
AMERICA GOES OVER is "The first officially released picture record of our part in the World War compiled by military experts." Our War Department made available this feature assemblage of riveting and remarkable footage (including scenes of combat) chronicling our WWI involvement, to the home market in 1927 (quite possibly to mark the 10th anniversary of America's entry into the fray.)
SHOULDER ARMS (1918) was Charlie Chaplin's three-reel gift to survivors of The Great War. The comedy was released to great acclaim and success shortly before Armistice and provided very welcome laughter, particularly to returning soldiers. Charlie plays a lowly private who finds himself in the trenches of France, where living conditions are hilariously horrendous. Some of the many highlights include Charlie trying to sleep in flooded quarters, spying as a tree (!) behind enemy lines and posing as a German officer in disguise. The edition presented here is the Pathe reissue from the early 20s and is markedly different (and arguably superior) in takes, camera angles and performances than the later reconstituted version presented in 1959's THE CHAPLIN REVUE.
THE BOND (1918) [aka "Charlie Chaplin in a Liberty Loan Appeal"] Charlie Chaplin was one of a number of Hollywood stars who made live appearances at bond rallies, using their celebrity and popularity to raise funds for the war effort. Chaplin also made this one-reel film to be exhibited expressly for that same purpose. Charlie appears in a series of stylized comic vignettes that demonstrate the bonds of friendship, love, marriage...and the Liberty Bond. Charlie's brother Sydney appears as The Kaiser - a role he also played in SHOULDER ARMS.
THE SINKING OF THE LUSITANIA (1918) was created by the legendary pioneer animator Winsor McCay and remains a milestone of fluid animation as well as one of the most powerful pieces of wartime propaganda ever created. Despite being released over three years after the actual sinking in May 1915 - the film managed to pack a visceral emotional punch in much the same way that many of the most powerful wartime posters of the day accomplished.
All of the films in this collection are accompanied by original Wurlitzer pipe organ scores composed and performed by Bernie Anderson!
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