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World War II on the Big Screen: 450+ Films, 1938-2008 by Doris Milberg

By Doris Milberg

Global conflict II has been an forever fertile movie topic because the overdue 1930s--even earlier than the U.S. entered wrestle. This sweeping research of Hollywood's depictions of the conflict, and of the movie in the course of wartime, describes greater than 450 movies in approximately chronological order, whereas supplying a historic point of view at the occasions and the occasions depicted. incorporated are such images as Casablanca, The conflict of halfway, Der Fuhrer's Face and Letters from Iwo Jima.

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The wartime business boom was on. Though the movie moguls saw the need for escapist film fare during this first year of the war, they nevertheless increased their output of films which reflected the global situation. United We Stand (Twentieth Century–Fox, 1942) is a documentary which goes into the history between the two world wars. Narrated by Lowell Thomas, a popular newscaster of the era, it emphasizes the rise of the National Socialist Party, the Japanese attacks on China, the failure of the League of Nations and the lack of unity among the free nations, all of which led to the outbreak of World War II.

46 PART I. 1938–1945 height of the Blitz. A disembodied radio voice has been aiding the Nazis by giving them classified information. Holmes is called in by a committee of statesmen to find the traitor. Less than halfway into the film, the audience realizes that the “voice” is a member of the committee, but everyone has a good time finding him. In the supporting cast are some well-known character actors of the 1940s, including Reginald Denny as the spy, Thomas Gomez and Henry Daniell. Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (made in 1942, released in early 1943) pits Holmes and Watson against that basest of villains, Professor Moriarity, played by Lionel Atwill, who has been aiding the Nazis.

With the success of such films as Confessions of a Nazi Spy and Foreign Correspondent, Hollywood saw the advantages of making more in the genre. In Secret Agent of Japan (Twentieth Century–Fox, 1942), Preston Foster is a night club owner in Shanghai who learns that Japanese spies are appropriating property and abusing the people of the city. He teams up with a British agent (Lynn Bari) and they report the Axis activities to their respective governments. Humphrey Bogart had an enormous hit in The Maltese Falcon Five.

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