One of the finest war films in recent memory has arrived.
1917 was brought to us by many talented people, but there may have been no film at all without Alfred Mendes.
There are many great war movies, but if recent years have proven anything, it’s that the genre can still provide audiences with fresh and unforgettable experiences.
The most notable of late was undoubtedly Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. After helming Inception, the Dark Knight trilogy and Interstellar, hopes were high for the master filmmaker’s 2017 epic. By incorporating three timelines, Nolan delivered a refreshing take on the war movie that was highly regarded by audiences and critics alike.
However, it looks like 1917 swept in right at the end of the decade to take the title of best war movie of the 2010s. Many have compared it to Saving Private Ryan, and indeed, Dunkirk.
Sam Mendes has previously helmed Jarhead, American Beauty, Spectre, Skyfall and more, and with 1917, he admirably continues to push himself.
1917 is dedicated to…
The film is an exhausting experience but utterly rewarding.
As the film approaches a close, you’ll likely feel yourself begin to well up, and it won’t be the first time. There are so many emotional moments throughout, and in the end, we learn that this may have been how captivated Sam felt as a child when hearing of his grandfather’s war stories.
As we depart from this creative vision of the past, we are greeted with a dedication on the screen which reads: “For Lance Corporal Alfred H. Mendes 1st Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. who told us the stories.”
Remembering Alfred Mendes
It’s a beautiful note to end on and a personal one.
As highlighted by The Telegraph, 1917 pays homage to Alfred Mendes, who wrote in his autobiography that his war stories kept “…my grand- and great-grandchildren enthralled for nights on end.”
Alfred was enlisted in 1915 and served for two years with the 1st Rifle Brigade in Flanders. He was always passionate about literature, and according to the same source, he said of his involvement in the war: “…always at the back of my mind lurked the suspicion that in order to write novels one must live.”
He earned a military medal for his service as a runner during the British assault on Poelcappelle in 1917. This saw him carrying messages and putting himself in grave danger, hiding from enemies and overcoming incredible odds. In reflection, his medal citation included: “For the whole of these two days he was continually on the move.”
So, it’s easy to see how 1917 was shaped by Alfred’s stories. The Trinidad-born hero passed away at the age of 93 in 1991, but thanks to his literature and, of course, his stories and the works they have inspired, his memory is eternal.
Sam Mendes’ Golden Globes speech
The film won big at the 2020 Golden Globes ceremony!
It earned Sam Mendes the Best Director award and also the Best Motion Picture – Drama accolade.
During his speech upon accepting the Best Director award, he dedicated the award to Alfred and said: “He signed up for the First World War, he was aged 17. And I hope he’s looking down on us. And I fervently hope it never, ever happens again.”
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