The Battle of the Somme Film

11 Mar 2017 Saturday School 15: Battle of the Somme’ film. 

Presenters: Clive Bowery, Barbara Johnson, Jonathan Vernon, (Jo Hook)

A complete version of the film is available on YouTube


The Great War on the Small Screen I read when researching an essay on the BBC’s Great War Series and making the case for keeping it off our screens in these centenary years; which took me to the comprehensive film-makers guide to The Battle of the Somme Film ‘Ghosts on the Somme’ as well as ‘How I Filmed the War’ by one of the cameramen Geoffrey Malins.

Supplementary reading has come from Prof. Mark Connelly who while chatting over a sandwich between lectures at a University of Kent ‘Gateways to the War’ event mentioned his brilliantly titled book ‘Celluloid War Memorials’ and ‘The Big Show’ by Michael Hammond.

I highlight in blue the books or papers I have read to date.


Badsey, S ‘The Battle of the Somme: The Film of the Battle’ in The British Army in Battle and its Image 1914-1918 (2009) 940.41241/BAD & E-Library)

Alastair H. Fraser, Andrew Robertshaw, Steve Roberts, Ghosts on the Somme: Filming the Battle, June-July 1916 (2009), on order for library.

Reeves, N, ‘Film Propaganda and its Audience: The Example of Britain’s Official Films during the First World War’ in Journal of Contemporary History 1983, vol 18 (3) pp 463-494 E-Library.

Badsey, S. D. ‘The IWM Series’ A Guide to the Imperial War Museum Collection of Archive Film of the First World War in Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television 1993 vol 13 (2) pp203-215 E-Library

Carmichael, J. First World War Photographers (1989) 778.999/CAR

Carruthers, S, The Media at War (2000 revised edition 2011) chapter 2 ‘media and total war’.070.4333/CAR or 070.44935502/CAR

Fraser, A.H & Ghosts on the Somme: Filming the Battle, June –July 1916 (2009)

Robertshaw, A. Kelly, A. Cinema and the Great War (1997) E-Library (Couldn’t locate)

Malins, G. How I Filmed the War (1920) EBook (Project Gutenberg)

Reeves, N. ‘Cinema, Spectatorship and Propaganda: Battle of the Somme 1916 and its Contemporary Audience’ in Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, 1997 vol 17 (1) pp5-29 E-Library

Smither, R. ‘A Wonderful Idea of Fighting: The Question of Fakes in The Battle of the Somme’, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, 1993, vol 13 (2) pp149-169 E-Library

The Battle of the Somme : Wikipedia

To which I add my essay ‘Why the BBC should not schedule to show ‘The Great War’ series from the 1960s fifty years on’.


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