This film is part of Free

Motherland

Motherland

In the surviving opening scenes of this WWI-set feature, young soldiers head to the front and face life in the trenches

War 1927 12 mins Silent

Overview

All that remains of this 1927 feature film about the First World War is the first reel - but these few minutes contain some beautifully crafted moments. In the touching first scene, three soldiers among a crowd of fresh recruits say goodbye to their families and sweethearts. The second scene features the camaraderie and mordant humour of the trenches as they settle into army life, joking and playing cards. Many 1920s British films dealt with the war - often paying tribute to the fallen.

In the rest of the film, as the train station scene foreshadows, one of the soldiers will pretend to be his chum to comfort his blind mother back home. Another of the featured families is Jewish - these characters are uncomfortably caricatured, with the son counting the money he won at cards and striking a hard bargain over a penknife. The film was produced and directed by GB Samuelson, a prolific British filmmaker of the silent era, who was himself Jewish. He was the father of Sir Sydney Samuelson, the first British Film Commissioner.