Gallipoli : The Last Crusade
Ed Skelding Productions have recently produced a documentary video series about the great battles of WWI for Tyne Tees Television.
"Gallipoli : The Last Crusade" is the first part of a series of three, but can be seen as a stand-alone documentary film of 56 minutes. The other two tapes deal with the Battle of the Somme and Ypres.
The film starts with a view of the Plain of Troy as an introduction to the 1915 theatre of war. Not exactly a new procedure, as we have seen it in other Gallipoli documentaries before, but one that sets the tone for what follows : the makers have indeed taken great care not to see the subject as a stand-alone military event. The first part of the film is therefore devoted to the background of the campaign, with all its political implications.
At first sight, not a very thrilling approach for those who expect to see scenes of battle only, but very soon it becomes clear that what happened in 1915 in Turkey, cannot be understood without a serious introduction.
One of the merits of this documentary is that even complicated material, like the origins of WWI and the part that Gallipoli played in that wider political context, are here presented in a way grabs the attention of the viewer from the beginning.
To accomplish this, the makers have collected quite an impressive amount of historical and new material.
It's a known fact that not so much original film footage is available about the 1915 campaign itself, but the few fragments that do exist can be found here, combined with original photos and new video material that was shot at the peninsula, at Istanbul and even under water. Apart from that, further necessary background information is provided via an interview with Peter Liddle, himself the author of "Gallipoli 1915 : Pens, Pencils and Cameras at War".
The result is an interesting mixture of historical facts and modern situational additions. Through the diversity of the different sources that are combined here, the interest of the viewer never gets a chance to slacken.
It would be a mistake to expect specialist historical content in this documentary film, as video is probably not the most suitable medium for that. On the other hand, I am convinced of the fact that the material presented here, might well be invaluable for two categories of people : It might be a first contact with Gallipoli for those who want to learn more about a less well-known episode of the Great War. Apart from that, people who have already been reading the history of the campaign, will find here the one aspect that books cannot offer so well : a feel of the atmosphere that still lingers on the old peninsula. In many cases, one picture can say so much more than a thousand words.
As a consequence, this documentary film is as well interesting for use in history lessons at school, as it is useful for people planning to visit Gallipoli themselves. If you are afraid you might be lured into such an enterprise, this might be dangerous material.
More information about this documentary and how to order it from the publisher, can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to New Publications Back to contents