Academic journal article Film & History

Valuable Service

Academic journal article Film & History

Valuable Service

Article excerpt

Battlefilm: U.S. Army Signal Corps: Motion Pictures of the Great War

Phillip Stewart

PMS Press. 2007



Although the title of this book is misleading, Mr. Stewart has performed a valuable service to researchers, filmmakers, and writers wishing to examine the visual images of World War I. Battlefilm is not about feature films, but rather a catalogue of footage, which the Army Signal Corps filmed before, during, and after the war of the Army's activities.

The book is divided into two parts, the first "Military Operations" and the second "Civilian Activities." Part I begins with "Army Scenes: 1914 and Prior" showing West Point cadets, troops taking target practice and other activities. However, as Stewart notes, some of the scenes were actually shot in 1916. The long section includes battlefield combat, and ends with a peace parade in London on July 19, 1919, in which General Pershing appeared and American troops marched.

Part II is much shorter. It includes brief sections titled "Personalities and Events," "Industry," and "Miscellaneous Activities." President Wilson's two trips to Europe, meeting troops, taking part in the Versailles peace conference, and his return to the U.S. comprise most of the first section. The other two sections show the manufacturing of war materials and civilian support of the war through bond drives and the burial of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. …

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