The King’s Men


What happens if you combine the First World War with an action-adventure film?

This month we watch the 2021 film The King’s Man and discuss its portrayal of an alternative vision of the war. Along the way we explore John Buchan novels, the absence of key historical events, and wonder about whatever happened to Wilfred Owen.


John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)
John Buchan, Greenmantle (1916)
John Buchan, Mr Standfast (1919)
John Buchan, The Three Hostages (1924)
Alfred Hitchcock, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935)
Patrick Barlow, The Thirty-Nine Steps (2005)
James Hawes, The Thirty-Nine Steps (2008)
‘Sapper’ [H. C. McNeil], Bulldog Drummond (1920)
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Final Problem (1893)
37 Days (2014), OWALP episode 16 
Blackadder, ‘Goodbyeee’ (1989)
James Joll, The Origins of the First World War (1984)
Wilfred Owen, ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ (first published 1920)
Abel Gance, J’accuse (1919)
Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (1975)
Lewis Millstone, All Quiet on the Western Front (1931)
Otto Dix, Der Krieg (1924)
Sam Mendes, 1917 (2019), OWALP episode 14 
Jessica Meyer, ‘Peaky Blinders and the Ubiquity of Poetry‘, 30/10/2013
Ben Schott, Jeeves and the King of Clubs (2018)
Sarah Moss, Night Waking (2011)
George Tomkyns Chesney, The Battle of Dorking (1871)
George MacDonald Fraser, Flashman (1969)
Brian Fee and John Lasseter, Cars (2006)
A. E. W. Mason, The Four Feathers (1902)
EA Dice Battlefield 1 (2016)

Other episodes

The Red Baron

How do you portray the most famous flying ace of the First World War?


How are embroidery, and the women who do it, portrayed in the years after the First World War?