20 Dec 2008

"Battle of the Somme" (1916) remastered

In November 2008, following a lengthy restoration process led by the Imperial War Museum, a digitally remastered version of Battle of the Somme was released on DVD to mark the 90th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice.

Battle of the Somme has been registered in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme, formed “to guard against collective amnesia”:
"The Battle of the Somme film of 1916 is the first feature-length documentary to record war in action. The film influenced the course of history as it awakened public consciousness during World War I and marked the development of documentary and propaganda war films. It remains an icon of the period and has also retained its importance as a cornerstone of the film collection of the British Imperial War Museum where the film’s oldest existing master copy is still kept." UNESCO

The Battle of the Somme is a documentary and propaganda film made by British official cinematographers Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell during World War I. The British public responded to the film massively, purchasing an estimated 20 million tickets in two months. On this basis, The Battle of the Somme remains one of the most successful British films ever made. The film inaugurated a debate about the on-screen depiction of combat that continues to this day, and is the origin of some of the most widely used and iconic moving images of the First World War.

Total Running Time: 74 minutes

Choice of three soundtracks in both 5.1 and Stereo options:
1. A newly commissioned orchestral score, composed by Laura Rossi and performed by The Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Nic Raine,
2. A recreation of the medley of light classics, folk tunes, popular songs and military music that was originally recommended as an accompaniment to the film on its first release in 1916, performed by a small ensemble led by Stephen Horne,
3. An audio commentary by Roger Smither, Keeper of the Imperial War Museum’s Film and Photograph Archives.

The DVD includes an official 36-page booklet with contributions from the Imperial War Museum archive team.