The 2017 film that I am most looking forward to is, of course, Wonder Woman. In this movie the legendary heroine (daughter of Zeus) comes to the early twentieth century to sort out World War One.
There have been several trailers, and this YouTube video combines most of the meat of them.
It will be interesting to see which of the usual WW1 tropes the film makes use of, and what it adds. The film still above has a nicely Paul Nash skyline for her to appear against, and the trailer promises a couple of ‘Over the Top’ sequences: one a general dawn attack, and one her very own one-woman show, letting bullets bounce off her bracelet and shield. I was glad to see a bit of a cavalry charge. We don’t have enough of them in most WW1 films.
The trailer hints at a reincarnation theme, which might mean that the film is going back to the tropes you get in Talbot Mundy’s 1916 adventure yarn King of the Khyber Rifles (filmed by John Ford as The Black Watch).
What I’d really like to see is the reaction of Bairnsfather’s Old Bill to the appearance in the trenches of a lady as skimpily dressed as this.
Is a film like this a sign that the First World War is leaving the zone of Remembrance and piety, and becoming a piece of history that film directors can feel free to play around with?
It will be interesting to see which is more successful, this or the promised new version of Journey’s End, also scheduled to appear next year. The production company behind the Sherriff remake seem very keen to signal their virtue:
Fluidity Films is working with and supporting Combat Stress, the charity that cares for veterans suffering from PTSD – our hero Stanhope suffers from (undiagnosed) PTSD or ‘shell shock’.
We also have the patronage of royalty, Sir Anthony Seldon and many other individuals and organisations to create the totemic film for the Centenary from which will flow education, history, culture and, of course, remembrance.
Does Stanhope really have PTSD? Or is he a man placed in a position of huge responsibility, and trying to cope with it? Do we trivialise the character by making his plight a medical condition? Would I have more faith in a film whose publicity did not equate PTSD and ‘shell-shiock’?
Well, let’s see how the film turns out. As well as the play-script its writers seem to be making use of the novel of Journey’s End that Sherriff wrote with Vernon Bartlett, which explains more about the Stanhope/Raleigh pre-war relationship.