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Free BBC screenings at the Michigan Theater, August 3-4

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, The Michigan Theater will have three new BBC films - for free - that will be screened on August 3rd and 4th: Royal Cousins at War: The Final Blow to the Royal Houses of Europe, Churchill’s First World War, and 37 Days: The Road to World War I. All are open to the public.

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This special series solidifies BBC Worldwide’s commitment to bring the best of British programming in all formats to U.S. audiences while sharing pivotal moments of the war from a uniquely British point of view. “While it has been customary topremiere our programming on television or digital platforms, we believe the 100th anniversary of World War I deserves special treatment and that is why we decided to present these three incredible films in theaters for free,” said Soumya Sriraman, EVP Home Entertainment & Licensing, BBC Worldwide North America. “Each film provides an interesting perspective on the many facets of the war, from its roots to its legacy. Creating a theatrical event around these films provides the perfect forum for community viewing,” she said.

Often referred to as “The Great War,” World War I began in July 1914 with the assassination of Austrian Archduke FranzFerdinand. This triggered an interconnecting network of alliances to spark mobilization, bringing in the empires of Europe. England, France, and Russia lined up against Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. The war ended four years later with the armistice of 1918.

Royal Cousins at War: The Final Blow to the Royal Houses of Europe plays Sunday, August 3, at 4:30 PM.
At the outbreak of World War I, three cousins – Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and King George Vof England – reigned over Europe’s greatest powers. This two-part series looks at the role played by the three monarchs, andtheir relationships with each other, in the outbreak of war. Mismanaging their countries and mishandling foreign policy, theyfailed to adapt to the forces of nationalism and democracy, and so brought tumbling down their own ideal of a Europe governed by the descendants of Queen Victoria. While it was war that delivered the final blow, this fascinating documentary shows how the problems had set in much earlier. 118 minutes.

Churchill’s First World War plays Sunday, August 3, at 7:00 PM.
This landmark docu-drama re-examines the darkest hours of future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, combining a fascinating re-evaluation of his epic and traumatic experiences in the World War I and his contributions as Britain’s greatest warlord. Disgraced by disasters in the Gallipoli wars, and with his political reputation in tatters, Churchill was all but finished. He was also tormented, for he knew that he was one of the very few political leaders opposed to the strategy of endless attrition in Flanders. His promotion of tank and air power stemmed from his determination to find another strategy. Illustrated with the extraordinary correspondence Churchill sent from the trenches to his wife Clementine, revealing intimate insights into life on the front, and with testimony from leading historians and military experts, this is the story of his fall – and his road to redemption. 115 minutes.

37 Days: The Road to World War I plays Monday, August 4, at 6:30 PM.
This political thriller follows the catastrophic chain of events which began with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, and led to the declaration of war between Britain and Germany on August 4th. 37 Days explores with breathless tension the tragedy of how Europe’s old conventions of secret diplomacy fell apart – or were destroyed. This ascinating and provocative drama, featuring stunning performances from actors such as Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars) and Tim Piggott-Smith (MI-5, Quantum of Solace), unlocks the mystery of the war’s origins. By overturning common assumptions about its inevitability, the film demonstrates that World War I did not happen by chance, and nor was it a foregone conclusion and it took considerable effort and staggering bad luck. 155 minutes.

These films are a great deal for any history buffs, and will only be playing on Sunday, August 3rd, and Monday, August 4th; make sure to check them out if you're interested.

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