Drawing on period footage from England’s Imperial War Museum and BBC radio interviews with World War I soldiers, director Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) deploys state-of-the-art digital restoration technology to reanimate some of the world’s earliest war footage. Released in commemoration of the war’s centennial and dedicated to Jackson’s own grandfather who fought in the war, the film is an astonishing portal to the past that offers viewers a surprisingly intimate view of the everyday lives of British infantrymen. As part of the Carsey-Wolf Center’s Special Effects series, this event will explore the notion of film restoration as a form of special effect; the film’s sophisticated use of colorization and audio synchronization with the assistance of lip readers render it a remarkable technological feat.
Elliot Travers (assistant editor, They Shall Not Grow Old) joined moderator Ross Melnick (Film and Media Studies, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion.
Assistant Editor Elliot Travers
Moderator Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick specializes in media industry history and analysis, film, radio, and television history, archival theory and practice, silent cinema, early radio and media convergence, newsfilm, and U.S. and global film exhibition. His most recent book is American Showman: Samuel ‘Roxy’ Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908-1935 (Columbia University Press, 2012). His articles have been published in Cinema Journal, Film History, The Moving Image, and Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television (forthcoming).
This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center and the Department of Film and Media Studies.
Cinema, in its essence, is a special effect. From the medium’s first days, filmmakers have used cutting edge-technologies, physical skill, and world-class craftsmanship to dazzle audiences and keep movies spectacular. The Carsey-Wolf Center’s fall 2019 series Special Effects invites audiences to explore the diverse history of special-effects cinema through a series of remarkable films, spanning Hollywood classics, CGI blockbusters, and previously unseen documentary footage. Expanding on traditional definitions of the term “special effects,” this series investigates the craft of special effects through iconic cinema makeup and costuming, digital image manipulation, practical stunts, and color film processing.