Torchbearers for Legacy screen Peter Jackson's They Shall Not Grow Old in Armidale

The film They Shall Not Grow Old reinvigorates period footage to impressive effect.
The film They Shall Not Grow Old reinvigorates period footage to impressive effect.

Peter Jackson's critically acclaimed World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old will receive its New England premiere at Armidale's Belgrave Cinema on Monday, May 6 to raise funds for Legacy.

"It's like no other documentary ever seen on WWI," Torchbearers for Legacy fundraising co-ordinator Nanette Peatfield said.

Legacy helps military families suffering after bereavement, caring for 65,000 widows and widowers, and 1800 children and disabled dependents Australia-wide.

The film screening is Torchbearers' major fundraising event of the year; they expect to raise $5000, if all 190 tickets are sold. The money will be spent locally on nearly 240 widows and dependants, Ms Peatfield said.


The Imperial War Museum, London, commissioned the film to mark the centennial of the end of the war.

Jackson, famous for his Lord of the Rings trilogy, restored and colourised original archival footage, much of it previously unseen. Lip reading experts' transcripts provide an audio for the film, which is overlaid with BBC interviews with veterans. The film has been nominated by the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.

"The men on the battlefield are telling the stories," Ms Peatfield said. "Jackson concentrates on the deeply moving human experience of the soldiers, and their attitude to the war before, during, and after the conflict."

Rated MA15+, the film has a huge emotional impact, Ms Peatfield said. "It's very bluntly the reality of war; it's not gory or macabre, it's simply as it is."

Many of the soldiers were teenagers - 14 or 15 years old - who lied about their age, and went off to fight, expecting a great adventure.

Torchbearers raised $11,000 for Legacy last year. Besides a similar film screening, a street stall in Uralla raised $2500, while their Christmas hamper raised $2750. The Torchbearers also sell badges in Legacy Week in September.

Tickets cost $25, including lunch and refreshments. Tickets can be bought from Legacy House, 89 Faulkner Street, by cash or cheque, Tuesdays to Fridays, 10 - 12; and from Reader's Companion, in the Beardy Street Mall. You can also pre-book by calling Nanette on 0458 200 053. Tickets cannot be bought on the day, and must be bought by Friday, May 3.