J. R. R. Tolkien was a soldier in the ‘Great War’. When it came to writing Lord of the Rings his first hand experiences at the Battle of the Somme went some way to inspire his nightmarish vision of the horror of Middle Earth. So it’s perhaps fitting that Peter Jackson, best known for directing LOTR has worked on a new project in conjunction with the Imperial War Museums, They Shall Not Grow Old to bring the First World War to life like no other film has done before.
Blending original footage together with the voices of WW1 veterans and by using cutting edge technology to add colour and sound, Jackson has made the war relatable to a modern audience in a very special way.
Brazilian artist Marina Amaral uses a similar technique to colour in historic photographs and the effect on They Shall Not Grow Old is incredible. The new colour footage breaks through an emotional barrier allowing you to see the men as real people, smiling, smoking, eating. They could be your Brother or Father or Son.
It should be shown in every school in Britain and will actually be broadcast on the BBC this Sunday November 11th at 9pm to coincide with the 100th year anniversary of the end of the war.
In future years ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ will serve as an important historical document and a reminder to the cruelty and stupidity man is capable of. It will also be a fitting tribute to the incredible bravery of those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
They Shall Not Grow Old will be shown on the BBC on Sunday 11th Nov @ 9pm