'Fire, Blood and Steel': memory and spectacle in "The Guns of Loos" (Sinclair Hill, 1928)
Hammond, Michael and Williams, Michael (eds.)
British Silent Cinema and the Great War.
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The Guns of Loos (Sinclair Hill, 1928, henceforth Loos) is set against the backdrop of the eponymous battle of 1915, as two soldiers, John Grimlaw (Henry Victor) and Clive (Donald McArdle) find their mental and physical fortitude tested on the battlefield. Public and private spheres meet and compete as both men are also fighting to win the affection of Diana (Maddeline Carroll in her screen debut), a Red Cross nurse in England. All this is juxtaposed against the growing tension of a workers’ dispute at Grimlaw’s Steel Works, which now operates as a munitions factory. This chapter explores the ways in which the film’s complex iconography addresses the mythic Home/Front divide, particularly through the duality of its protagonists, and issues of history, remembrance and modernity, as the audiences of 1928 were invited to recall the events of 1915.
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