1916 on Film
The war dragged on - and on… but cinemas offered more news from the Front, while trying to entertain those at home. Watch along with cinemagoers a century ago.
The war really began to take its toll on the film industry in 1916. Films and film stock were harder to come by, while conscription robbed studios and cinemas of workers. The big release of the year was The Battle of the Somme, a government-sanctioned 'documentary' seen by some 20 million people. Government relaxed its censorship, allowing greater (but still limited) access to the Front and commissioning films to keep the public informed. Cinema managers did their bit for the war effort by absorbing the entertainment tax and raising funds for ambulances across the sector. The newsreels increased their war coverage, carrying reports from the Front and stories of returning heroes and war work at home. Repackaged travelogues and information films helped make up for the shortage of new titles. The war increasingly crept into comedies and drama. One comic hero found himself pursued by man-hungry land girls, while moralistic features explored the strains on marriage during wartime or warned of German fifth columnists infiltrating the aristocracy. This collection is supported by The Eric Anker-Petersen Charity
Non-Fiction19161 mins Location: Hastings
It's Hastings' first fishing festival since WWI broke out and Britain's foremost newsreel company take to the pier to capture the catch on film.
Animation & Artists Moving Image191610 mins
The hand of the artist tweaks the nose of “Kaiser Bill” and friends in this episode from an early animated propaganda series
Non-Fiction19161 mins Location: Chiswick
Three cheers for Maurice Samuels, as a Chiswick tram driver receives a medal for bravery at the Western Front at Ypres.
Non-Fiction19164 mins Location: Molesey Lock
Soldiers stage a mock brawl and watch performances during festivities for 600 wounded soldiers held on an island in the Thames near Hampton Court.
Sport19161 mins Location: Richmond Park
Soldiers representing South Africa and New Zealand billeted in London get stuck in during a rugby fixture in Richmond Park.
Non-Fiction19161 mins Location: Wanstead
Top-hatted dignitaries turn out in force for this service held to honour Wanstead locals serving in the armed forces.
Non-Fiction19161 mins Location: Croydon
Firepower and fancy dress as a captured German field gun is the focus of a parade through Croydon to mark Red Cross Week.
Non-Fiction19161 mins Location: Kensington and Chelsea
Brass bands, bicycles and marching special constables outside the Albert Hall for a Sunday presentation before Bishop John Taylor-Smith outside the Albert Hall.
'Let Them all Come!' First Cinema Pictures (Taken Soon after Dawn) Of London's Second Zeppelin Brought down in Essex
Non-Fiction19162 mins Location: Great Burstead
The scorched remains of a downed “baby-killer” draws half of London to Snail’s Hall Farm near Billericay
Tessa Dunlop, historian, journalist, presenter of BBC2’s Coast and Radio 4’s Crossing Continents, and writer of the recently published The Bletchley Girls, guides us through her selection of films from 1916.