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The Big Drive

The Big Drive(1933)

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The Chicago opening of this film was reviewed in Variety under the title The Great Drive. According to Variety, this film contains war footage taken by official military cameramen from the archives of Germany, France, Austria, Great Britain, Italy and the United States, in addition to footage from unofficial sources, including a number of British features never released in the U.S. A. L. Rule compiled the film and appears at the beginning in the uniform of a sergeant-major, after which he offers a running commentary on the scenes. The film was owned by Rule and Elwin Seymour of the Butterfield distribution circuit. Reviewers noted that the film showed little favoritism toward the Americans. An ad for the film appearing in Motion Picture Herald, dated February 4, 1933, included the following sensationalistic lines, "45 cameramen and 10 million soldiers killed to make it"; "10 million men actually died to make this picture"; "Bloodiest Action!...Thick of Battle!...The World War as Only Shattered Veterans know it!...Glory and Hell...Blood and Mud...Clubbing...Stabbing!" According to modern sources, Rule was a private in the American Expeditionary Force, and the film included combat footage from the 1919 The Lost Battalion and the opening volcano scene from the 1918 U.S. Government film Pershing's Crusaders (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.2603 and F1.3425).