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IN THE DRUMFIRE OF THE WESTERN FRONT (1936) – DVD
“The most authentic and unique First World War film ever produced!”
“The earth in a fiery bloodbath. Howling of hell, savage wrath. Thunderous booming and clamor. This is war in its truest form. They lie under fire refusing to shirk their duty, the heroes of the front!” Thus begins Charles Willy Kayser’s film Im Trommelfeuer der Westfront (In the Drumfire of the Western Front), the most unique motion picture of World War 1 ever produced. Incorporating historical film material from German, British and French archives and combining it with suspenseful, re-enacted scenes, this extraordinary docudrama maintains a sense of historical fidelity and an absolutely seamless tapestry of warfare in the trenches and in the air. It is testimony to the carnage and destruction that set the stage for the rise of National Socialism in the following decade.
The original footage selected is among the best ever recorded of men fighting and dying in battle and is affirmation of the unparalleled bravery of the front-line cinematographers as well. Over 90 percent of German footage shot during World War I was destroyed during aerial bombings in World War 2. This surviving material is both rare and captivating. It generates suspense throughout, as the scene depicting a vignette of a clock ticking while on the face of that clock, a soldier’s foot is superimposed nervously tapping as he awaits the next assault.