They Shall Not Grow Old is a Peter Jackson documentary that brings long-dead World War I soldiers back to life with modern film techniques, even using lip readers to give them a voice.
However, what’s the release date for They Shall Not Grow Old? According to Daily Variety, the movie’s showing takes the form of what is called “event cinema.” It ran on two days in December 2018. However, if you missed one of the December showings, you may still be in luck. Daily Variety reports that the movie will enjoy theatrical release in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, on Jan. 11 and “plans to expand to 25 markets on Feb. 1” 2019. You can find information about showtimes and showings near you later in this article.
According to The Guardian, “There are no historians, narrators or political commentators to guide us; the voices we hear are those of veterans, many gathered by the BBC during the making of its 1964 documentary series The Great War.”
Here’s what you need to know:
They Shall Not Grow Old Had Two Showings in December: On the 17th and 27th
There were two showings for the World War I documentary: December 17, 2018 and December 27, 2018. You can search for a showing near you here on the Fathom website.
The website allows you to insert your zip code or city to get a list of showings near you. (The author of this article tried it out and discovered three possible showings on December 27, 2018 in her zip code).
The movie “earned $2.3 million at 1,142 theaters in North America on Dec. 17 — marking the largest single night for a Fathom Events documentary,” Daily Variety reports. “It will screen again at more than 900 locations on Dec. 27.”
According to The Hartford Courant, Jackson commented that “restoration is a humanizing process.” His restoration gave literal voice to the men in old World War I footage because the footage was silent. He also colorized black-and-white footage. Some screenings of the movie are in 3D.
According to the Fathom Events website for the movie, Jackson “recorded a special introduction to the film—which he has called his most personal—offering his perspective on why the film is important for audiences, who have never experienced WWI footage as anything but grainy black & white…and silent.”
In They Shall Not Grow Old, Jackson “opens a window to the past in a way that has never been seen or heard before, noting, ‘Restoration is a humanizing process.’ The screening will be immediately followed by special content offering firsthand insights into what went into this groundbreaking feat of research, filmmaking and storytelling,” the website reports.
“The acclaimed documentary is an extraordinary look at the soldiers and events of the Great War, using film footage captured at the time, now presented in a way the world has never seen. By utilizing state-of-the-art restoration, colorization and 3D technologies, and pulling from 600 hours of BBC archival interviews, Jackson puts forth an intensely gripping, immersive and authentic experience through the eyes and voices of the British soldiers who lived it.”
According to The Guardian, Jackson used modern technique to smooth out the movements in the film. The movie “used computers to build interstitial frames that recapture the rhythms of real life,” Guardian reports.
The title of the documentary comes from a 1914 poem by English poet Robert Laurence Binyon, according to Catholic News: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. … We will remember them.” The lip readers helped Jackson figure out what the soldiers were saying in real life so he could employ actors to give them voice.
“Forensic lip readers provided a transcript, which was then reenacted by British actors, who, in order to get the accents right, were from the same regions as the soldiers would have been,” Popular Mechanics reports.
“We wanted the full gamut of sounds,” Jackson said, according to Popular Mechanics. “From the wind in the trees to footsteps in the mud to the jangle of the equipment to the click-clack of the rifle bolts to the horse hooves and the squeak of the leather. Subtleties upon subtleties.”