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REAL WAR PICTURES.

BATTLE OF THE SOMME.

An Epio and Moving Becord.

To most people on this side of the AA oriu, who know the battle of the homme onl) through the cable news, the great struggle is more or less an abstract idea But those who avcre privileged to sec the official films of the * big push," taken by permission of the British War Ofhcc, and Bhoivn for the first time in Australia at Hoyts Picture Theatre )cstcrda), have seen more of the greatest battle )et fought on the aiestern front than all but a \erv fcav of those AVIIO took part in it We have had 'faked' avar pictures enough in the past, but tins is the real thing There were many re- turned soldiers amongst the audience, and they agreed that the scenes shown were an absolutely genuine presentment of things

right at the front

Among those present avcre the State commandant (Brigadier General Williams), the band, and 250 of other lanks mostl) returned soldiers, from the Royal Park camp, tinder Major Elbing, DJS O., and the camp adjutant (Captain Kean) The State commandant and the other officers avere agreed in la) ing cm phasis on the absolute leality and truth to life of the pictures shown The audience generally followed the unrolling of the

battle epic-with rapt attention throughout

Some of the scenes, indeed-for instance, the bunal of those who liuae fallen on the held of battle-were too grim and tragic for the nerves of the more scnsitiie spec tators But they sene to bring home to all who see them, as nothing elbe could, what Aiar reall) is Stage battles, elen w»ith the finest stage management, are pale and thin beside this moving reality of

battle

The him opens avith the preparations for the great advance, and snows a division waiting to moAe fonvard Then come the regiments moving up to the front on the night before the great attack lhere was an irrepressible burst of applause Avhen the lines of men swning forward, cheerful, ?muling and jol ing, though the) kneiv that many of them Avould look but once more on the light of da)

Other pictures show the Aast supplies of shells and explosiAcs being piled up in the ammunition dumps ' foi the big guns There is a magnificent senes of studies of the big guns themselves pounding the Ger man lines to make way for the advance Monstrous howitzers, Avith their vast muzzles pointing to heaven, vomit forth their huge shells, smaller pieces finng rapidly from hidden emplacements look like venomous black snakes striking and recoiling "Plum puddings' are hurled forth from trench mortars and guns of every shape and si7c join m the inferno Then the Bcene shifts to the German trenches, and the spectator sees their de strucbon "Cauliflower" clouds of smoke, dust, and debris rise m appalling bouquets and here and there huge black geysers of earth nse straight up towal ds the sky Over all shrapnel bursts m innocent and peaceful looking little clouds More than ever one realises how wonderful it is that men can live and endure under modern artillery fire

And b) Avay of contrast to all the din and horror of war, a little scene shows the hard AA orking French peasants toiling in their little fields on the edge of the battle zone War or no war, men must cat, and

the fields must be cultivated

Then comes the attack, and we sec a section of the 16-mile front avith the Bntish soldiers leaping OAer the parapets of the trenches to cross the deadh zone of "No Man's Land " Two fall back, never to rise again, under your very eyes, and for the first time the civilian sees Avar as it really is

From now on ) ou are not in a Melbourne picture theatre, but in the lery forefront

of the Somme battle You seo Bntish i soldiers rescue a comrade under shell file The stretcher seems almost to brush )oti as he is borne in and you see from his face that the hand of death is on lum in fact, he died 30 minutes after he reached the trenches The wounded come in m streams, rained on the backs of comiadea, borne in stretchers, or wheeled in on little conveyances You see first aid being given to them ut Minden Post, with the front line trenches just over the cicst of the hill only 200 )aids awaj

There are German wounded, too, and pre eently the Germnn pnsoncrs come pouring in Friend and foe hobble along arm in arm, helping each other to the dressing station For the most part the Germans ure big, strapping felloivs, but their awful ordeal

has beert almost more than human nature can bear, and in many cases their nerves have given way under the continual artil

len fire Some still hold up their hands in token of surrender, some gibber m ter- ror, nnd on the faces of many is the blank stare of men utterly astounded and almost dchumamted Of some jon feel inclined to EU}, as men said of I)inte as he walked the streets of 1 lorence, lhere eues a min who lins seen hell ' Rut the British soldiers, though shal < n themselves bv « hat thev hive gone tliiouUi r.n laugh ind joke, even «hen wounded and uliafe' the pn soncih-with cigarettes

Pictures follow which show the grimmest side of war You bec the Gcinnn de id hing in queer, crumpled heaps on the field ot battle, the dead huddled m a ti em h our own dead, l}ing where the} fell during the chaige, and men of the "Middlesex Regiment billing their shattered enemies Sublet

perlnps of all is th< pietme of the pet dog of the Manchcstei Regiment mid his master hing dead togethei the iwor dumb biute faithful to the bitter end

Lust scene of nil shows the men of the Worcester Regiment clearc\ed and leso lute ns ev ort marching fonv ard for the next step in the ndv anec

The Rattle of the ""omine" will be shown at Ho} t's for one w eek onl}, beginning with 1 a matinee to di\ I

' This senes of pictures certain!} gives a very clear idea of what our troops have been doing on the Somme fiont what they ore doing, and cnobles us to form an idea of ?what they lune still to do," said the State commandant (Brigadier-Gencril Williams) Iaht night ' Tlie pictures aro distinctly educative, and tlicy are deeply interesting Personally, 1 think one or tw o of the scenes ure lathei gruesome, and might be omitted without m um wu\ interferuv with the dc \eIopiuent of the great ccntr-il theme The way in which the pictures have been taken and produced is bevond all pnise, it is a

\ery remarkable achievement" I

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