Monday, April 24, 2017

American History TV Shows "On the Firing Line with the Germans" (USA, 1915)

On April 15, C-SPAN3 on American History TV first broadcasted On the Firing Line with the Germans. Watch Wilbur Durborough's historic World War I film report on his experiences in wartime Europe and on the Eastern Front while the German army pushed the Russian enemy out of Poland.



Film poster On the Firing Line with the Germans (1915)


Durborough's film is the only American World War I feature film that has survived and an invaluable source on World War I film history. Together with his camera operator Irving Ries, Durborough spent five months with the German army. They covered operations both at the home front, in East Prussia and on the Eastern Front where in a gigantic pincer movement the Russian army was driven out of occupied Poland. We have described Durborough's film adventures in more detail in our book American Cinematographers in the Great War (2014).

Now available for the public

Based on research by authors Jim Castellan and Cooper Graham the Library of Congress recently restored Durborough's 1915 war film which is now available for the public after almost one hundred years. Lost and long forgotten, this movie provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to witness the First World War as seen through the lens of an American camera correspondent.


We recently produced a new, extended story on Durborough's photographic work during World War I. You can read this Durborough Film Annotation here.





In the TV show by C-SPAN George Willeman and Lynanne Schweighofer tell about their work on restoring this remarkable film. While the movie is shown Cooper Graham and Jim Castellan give comments on the historical background and on how this film was made.

Here is C-SPAN's program on American History TV.  Enjoy!





       

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