Carry On, Sergeant, 1928, 35mm, 98mins, 7pm, Bytowne Cinema, Nov 9th
Accompanied by LIVE MUSIC from Mike Dubue and Mike Essoudry!
Carry On, Sergeant! was shot at Trenton Studios in Ontario and in the surrounding countryside by British Director Bruce Bairnsfather, with legendary Canadian filmmaker Gordon Sparling working as his assistant director. With a budget of $500,000, it was the biggest-budget film produced in Canada up to that time. Much of that budget went to recreating WWI-era France, with sprawling sets and battlefield scenes featuring hundreds of extras.
The story follows a group of workers from Hamilton who join the army to fight in WWI, and the travails and temptations that befall them during the war. The film has excellent production values and presents a drama that may feel surprisingly modern to today’s audiences. Bairnsfather’s insistence on portraying the soldiers as flawed human beings resulted in some criticism from those who expected a straightforward glorification of Canada’s war effort.
Produced as a silent film just as theatres were transitioning to sound, it had only a brief run at the box office before it was removed from circulation in January 1929. It fell into obscurity for many years before Gordon Sparling donated a print to Library and Archives Canada, resulting in a complete restoration of the film. That restored print is the same one we will be showing with a brand-new live soundtrack composed by Ottawa’s own Mike Dubue (Hilotrons). Similar screenings of other silent films that have been held around town in the past couple of years have sold out quickly, so please make sure to show up early to ensure a seat.”