The Next War—
Who Will Not Recognise Themselves
I Accuse, the great French war film to promote peace, had its premiere last night (Thursday) in London and members of the committees of the leading peace societies were among those present. It would be interesting to know how cogent these peace authorities found this violent attack on emotional susceptibility as peace propaganda because / Accuse is realistically the strongest war film ever shown in this country.
Anyway, the Board of Film Censors have given it an " H" certificate, and that category so seldom used these days, is designated " horrific." (Since its 'inception the " H " category has listed five films in 1933, five in 1934, six in 1935, two in 1936, and one in 1937.)
The Board's own description of these films, all deliberate blood-curdlers, is " unwholesome " and
Horrific— their influence has But Not rightly tended to dis Unwholesome courage the making of such morbidities, but it will be contended whether " the message " contained in I Accuse should not absolve it at least from the suggestion of disparagement which the letter " H " still bears.
While I myself would question the ultimate value of peace propaganda which harrows us with the horrors of war, 1 can only testify to the sincerity of I Accuse in the delivery of its message. Haunted throughout by death, the realism of this film afterwards dissolves into surrealism when, through a madman's dreams, the war dead arise and tramp the roads of Europe in a relentless iron rhythmic array of terror, but there is never a feeling that horror has been exploited for the morbid thrill of the audience.
Throughout this terrible and fierce indictment of war-mongers which spared the eye no physical or mental To the Dead torment which the of the Next camera could record, War sat, several rows be hind me, a little boy whose shrill comments upon the death-dealing operations of trench warfare (What is that man doing now?) showed a lack of terror because of lack of recognition. But the film was dedicated, from its original production in 1920 by Abel Gance, to those who will be the dead of the next war who, seeing this film, will not recognise themselves. . .
Our Film Critic apologises if her pictorial description of I A CCU$P is inadequate. The experience of seeing the film is so overwhelming that it needs superhartian courage to re-live through it incident by incident for the creation of a yerbal picture,