Thursday, November 10, 2016

FILMBAY 2000 Greatest Films of All-Time (1888-2014) by Year # 0101 - WAR BE DAMNED (Alfred Machin, 1914, Belgium, 38m, Col-BW)



(Alfred Machin, 1914, Belgium, 38m, Col-BW)



Maudite soit la guerre
War is Hell

War Is Hell (1914)
Maudite soit la guerre (original title)
Drama, War, Anti-war movie
Director: Alfred Machin
Writer: Alfred Machin
Stars: Baert, Suzanne Berni, Fernand Crommelynck

An army pilot is on a visit at the home of another army pilot in the neighboured country. He falls in love with his sister. After the outbreak of a war between the two countries, her brother is killed by her friend in a battle, he is killed by some friends of her brother. She engages her with her brother's friend who was there, but then she finds out about that battle.


The title of this movie says it all! War is something terrible. A movie about friendship that ends. A woman that will loose her lover and that all in the dramatic way we know from the early silent movies. I saw this movie with life-music, maybe that makes some difference. But I think it is a beautiful early anti-war movie. This film might qualify as a prediction of World War I and the use of planes in warfare; the Walt Lee guide says it "anticipates horrors of war"  but the main horrors this one emphasizes are not technological ones but human ones; friends killing friends and people losing those that are dear to them. The story itself is no surprise; a movie with a title like this is not going to have a happy ending, and the plot may be a hair too dependent on coincidence, as the set-up is a little too neat.  It also might have been a little more effective if the acting had been a little subtler; it does manage to avoid hamminess, but some of the physical reactions are a little too cliched.  Still, the movie is a bit on the mild side; compared of the real horrors that would arise with WWI, this is pretty weak tea, though it certainly does personalize the horror. The print I saw does have some truly excellent hand-coloring, though.


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