I find history fascinating, and the internet has made it easier to unearth the interesting tidbits of the lives that came before. Two facts came to my attention this week and intersected in a way I hadn’t considered before.
The first movie is considered to have been made in 1894 by two French brothers, Louis and Auguste Lumiére, which shows workers leaving a factory and is a single scene long. (Yes, I do wonder if Disney was giving some sort of movie-making homage to the character of the candlestick Lumière in the movie Beauty and the Beast.)
World War I was started in July 1914. If you put these two facts together, you realize that film exists of this war, not just photos.
This was brought home to me when I encountered a video on YouTube, showing the sites of the Battle of the Somme then and now. The Battle of the Somme began July 1, 1916 and ended November 18, 1916. More than a million men were killed or wounded during it.
The YouTube filmmaker, who calls himself MC, found original video from the battle and its surroundings. He went to France and searched out those exact locations. He made a film showing what the areas look like now and imposed the old video over it. The viewer sees how much or little has changed in the intervening century. Peaceful fields once were cut through with trenches, and streets where the men marched and pulled their artillery still stand, even though the soldiers are gone. He even has a clip of the Mine blowing up on July 1, 2016. The Malins referenced in the old video was the WWI photographer. It was the largest explosion ever seen in the world at that time. (See approximately 17:50 in the video.)
The other thing I reflected upon is how every person in the old film is no longer around, whether or not he survived the actual battle. It’s truly something to see. Yes, you know these people have passed on, but it’s different to see them marching to the front or going about their tasks. That’s part of what history is. People living their lives, not knowing the future.
The film The Somme Then and Now…In Full HD is 39 minutes long, if you wish to take the time to view it.