The Guns of August (1964)
This documentary is taken from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Barbara W. Tuchman. The story begins with the coming of World War I in August of 1914. The film illustrates that the crowned heads of Europe and their advisors were warned repeatedly, beginning in 1910, of impending disaster and that intervention was crucial in avoiding war. George V of England becomes king after the death of Edward VII. Doddering Franz Josef of Austria is a senile old man unable to command his generals. While the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand may have officially started the war, the blame lies collectively at the ineptitude of the leaders to avoid catastrophe -- as the heads of state ignore the bellicose warnings, they carry on with their lavish lifestyles. Universal Studios produced the film at a cost of $40,000. Narrated by Fritz Weaver, the documentary serves to be historically accurate, avoiding accusations and striving for neutrality. … More
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