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The Battles Of Coronel And Falkland Islands review

Walter Summers’ 1927 WW1 doc is restored and brought back to cinemas

On 12 November and 8 December 1914 respectively, the Royal Navy lost – then won – two decisive WWI battles. Newly restored by the BFI, this 1927 silent reconstruction of the sea clashes is epic in every sense – aided no end by a thunderous new score.

Throughout, it captures the thrill and melodrama (“We’ll ’ave to change our name from ‘Good Hope’ to ‘What Hope’.” cries a smoke-damaged sailor), while making a fetish of guns, steam, fire and clank. Had Sergei Eisenstein been British, he might have made something that looked like this.

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