AMERICA and the ALLIED FORCES in
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
The STAR SPANGLED BANNER
(Official Films, WWII era)  Sing along to our national anthem.  This film is undated but is probably from the late 1930s or early 1940s.
REAR GUNNER(Warner Bros., April 10, 1943)  Directed by Ray Enright. Starring Burgess Meredith, Ronald Reagan, Tom Neal and Dane Clark. Narrated by Knox Manning. A rousing recruitment film for the Army Air Corps with Meredith as Pvt. Pee Wee Williams who goes to the Rear Gunner school and is ultimately decorated for bravery. This film is a great example of how Hollywood was part of the war effort. This film manages to be both a morale booster and a recruiting film. And Burgess Meredith takes a very standard part and makes it special. We also get a brief but fascinating look at the kind of training given to US rear gunners.

RECOGNITION OF THE JAPANESE ZERO FIGHTER

(1st Motion Picture Unit, Army Air Force, 1943)  Instructional film for pilots to teach them the difference between the Japanese Zero and our own P-40.  No cast or crew screen credits are given, but the young man portraying Lt. Jimmy Saunders is a 32 year old Hollywood actor (who joined the ranks in WWII), by the name of Captain Ronald Reagan.  The part of Lt. Weldon, the P-40 flyer that Reagan almost shoots down is played by Craig Stevens, later television’s “Peter Gunn.”  Narration is by Art Gilmore who was the announcer on Red Skeltons’ TV show and the voice of so many trailers and other films in the 40s through the 60s.   The Major is played by Harvey Stephens.  This is an original print from 1943, complete from fade in to fade out and with only three minor splices in the first couple of minutes. 

HYMN OF THE NATIONS:  TOSCANINI CONDUCTS THE MUSIC OF GIUSEPPE VERDI
(U.S. Government War Department, 1944)  Magnificent performances  of Verdi's Overture to "La Forza del Destino," and "Hymn of the Nations." by legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini, (his only movie!), and the NBC Symphony Orchestra.


This film is rarely seen in its original release form but this is it!  In nearly all post-war prints the Soviet national anthem has been removed but it survives in this print as does the middle section telling of Toscanini's personal fight against fascism. Even a recent "official" DVD was edited, but we have the complete original version as well as the story behind the making of this amazing film.  (27 minutes)

ARMY-NAVY SCREEN MAGAZINE #46,

a pictorial report from all fronts for the armed forces only, produced by Army Information Branch, Army Pictorial Service, Air Forces, Navy Department, in cooperation with all united nations.”  (1944)  The Army-Navy Screen Magazine usually had several features, but this one is devoted entirely to the 2nd Battle of the Philippines, one of the decisive battles in the war against Japan.  This film, which was shown only to military personnel during the war, features some incredible footage from signal corps cameramen, cameras mounted on bombers and fighters, and some footage captured from the Japanese.  The film closes with a service for a pilot who died in the cockpit of his plane when it landed on the deck of the carrier.  He is buried at sea in his plane.  (1944 Kodak film stock)

ARMY NAVY SCREEN MAGAZINE #41 (1944)  "A pictorial report from all fronts for the armed forces only, produced by Army Information Branch, Army Pictorial Service, Air Forces, Navy Department, in cooperation with all united nations."

This film, shown only to members of the armed forces, begins with a newsreel about the liberation of American POWs from Nazi occupied Rumania. Some very historic footage here with an excerpt from the welcoming address given to the former POWs upon their arrival in Italy.

Then the film presents an Army-Navy Screen Magazine special, Christmas 1944. This section features Leopold Stokowski addressing the camera and conducting the Westminster Choir in some Christmas carols, and inviting the audience to sing along with the words on the bottom of the screen. Then “Stokie” introduces Marian Anderson who also speaks to the camera and sings Schubert’s “Ave Marie.” The film ends with more carols. This original 1944 print is in near perfect condition. 

NOTE: some incidental nudity is seen briefly in the early part of the film when the liberated Americans are shown walking into the showers. 

“The Army-Navy Screen Magazine” was a bi-weekly series produced from June of 1943 until early 1946 by the Army Signal Corps under the supervision of Frank Capra. It was said to have reached over 4 million men and women every week.   

To purchase a DVD of this and other films from the Silver Showcase collection please click on the "WWII Films on DVD" tab at the top of this page. (21 minutes, photo at left courtesy of Westminster College)

(1944 Kodak film stock)
SPECIAL DELIVERY - JAPAN
(1945) Official US War Film No. 56 produced by the Signal Corps for the War Department "with the cooperation of combat film units from Signal Corps, Army Air Forces, Navy and Marines." "Exclusive for the men and women of American industry." Aimed at defense workers in munitions plants this film explains that the lives of the fighting men and the future of the country depend on their working hard to turn out as much amunition as possible. The various kinds big guns, what they sound like and their ranges are demonstrated. 


To purchase a DVD of this and other films from the Silver Showcase collection please click on  the "WWII Films on DVD" tab at the top of this page.
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD REPORT No. 7: COAST GUARD AT WAR ON FOREIGN SHORES (1946)  The US Coast Guard is seldom mentinoed when WWII history is discussed but they were involved around the world.  This film gives a fascinating account of the Guard's activities.  Some excellent Signal Corps footage shows the Coast Guard sinking German subs, shooting down planes and capturing German spies in Greenland.  They are also shown being under fire in major battles in Europe and the South Pacific as they were assisting other branches of the military.  (26 minutes)

This is an original 1946 print in excellent condition.


To purchase a DVD of this and other films from the Silver Showcase collection please click on  the "WWII Films on DVD" tab at the top of this page.
THE MOON IS DOWN trailer for the 20th Century Fox 1943 feature film. 

Based on the novel by John Steinbeck.  The narration is pure WWII propaganda:  "Listen Nazis, this is the end ..."


This is an original 1943 print.
DUCKTATORS (Warner Bros., August 1, 1942) The legendary voice of Mel Blanc, the manic music of Carl Stalling and the famous Termite Terrace style of the Warner animation department combine to lampoon Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini. This great cartoon deftly uses humor to sink the Axis and boost our moral.
HANDS
(US War Department, 1944)  An official US government film promoting the sale of war bonds in November of 1944 for the 6th bond drive. 
(2 and 1/2 minutes, 1944 Kodak film stock)
ALL STAR BOND RALLY (Fox, May 10, 1945)  Produced for the 7th and final war bond drive all of the featured stars have become legends to one degree or another: Fibber McGee and Molly, (pictured at left), Bob Hope, Betty Grable, Frank Sinatra, Harry James and his Orchestra, Harpo Marx, Bing Crosby all do their part to raise our patriotism as well as cash to win the war.
WOMEN IN DEFENSE
(Office of Emergency Management, War Activities Committee of the Motion Picture Industry, December 24, 1941) Written by Eleanor Roosevelt and narrated by Katharine Hepburn, this film presents women as a capable and valuable part of the defense of the US.  Women are showen doing some jobs that, until the war, had been done only by men.  (1941 Kodak film stock)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH WENDELL WILLKE
1940 campaign film produced by the Republican National Committee.  Interesting comments from Willke made just over a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the US entry into WWII.  Willke warns of the danger of a third term presidency and promises that he will never send American soldiers to fight in foreign lands.  (1940 Kodak print)
SING WITH THE STARS

Produced by the Army Pictorial Service in cooperation with the Music Section, Special Services Division

 

Not released theatrically, these films were distributed to US military theatres around the world in WWII.  They feature big name stars presenting sing-along entertainment for the troops.

 

Silver Showcase is proud to offer two of these films for your program, one with Andre Kostelanetz and his orchestra and one with Carmen Miranda, "The Brazilian Bombshell."  

 

NEWS PARADE: BATTLE FOR OKINAWA/BOMBING OF USS FRANKLIN (Castle Films, 1940) Produced for home use, this newsreel contains gripping Signal Corps footage of Americans under fire. The silent version of this film is commonly available, but this is a rare and excellent condition sound version of this great war-time newsreel.  Narrated by Len Sterling.
I AM AN AMERICAN
(Soundie Corporation of America, 1941)  This 1940 song by Ira Schuster, Paul Cunningham and Leonard Whitcup was very popular during WWII and was sung in school rooms across the country.  This film is a three minute Soundie of this song as sung by Carolyn Marsh.
OUR AMERICAN HERITAGE
(RKO, 1947)  This is an extremely rare flag waving movie about how wrong it is to complain about America because its such a great country.  The opening credits say that RKO produced this film in cooperation with the other major Hollywood studios and the American Heritage Foundation for National Rededication Week.  It was “Sponsored by the Attorney General of the United States.”  This wonderful film was connected to the “Freedom Train” that toured the US from September of 1947 to January of 1949, visiting 322 communities in 413 days.  Among the many historic artifacts displayed on the train were the Iwo Jima flag, an original copy of the Magna Carta from 1215, Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, the Mayflower Compact, and a letter written by Columbus in 1493 about his discovery of the New World.  Communities celebrated Local Rededication Week when the train visited.  Citizens could board the train to view the displays, (which were guarded by the Marines), take the Freedom Pledge, (which is sung in this film), and sign the Freedom Scroll which was presented to President Truman at the end of the tour.  The public response was overwhelming.  Some 40 million Americans, about one fourth of the population, came to see the Freedom Train.  This film was apparently shown in communities in advance of the train's visit.  This rare 16mm print has some wear but remains a fascinating document of a significant event in our history.  It is narrated by Joseph Cotten.
THE CHANNEL ISLANDS, 1940-1945 (Crown Film Unit, c.1945) Excellent British documentary about the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands.  "Incidents dealing with the German occupation are re-enacted by the Channel Islanders themselves."  (15 minutes)
RECOGNITION OF THE JAPANESE ZERO FIGHTER
(1ST Motion Picture Unit, Army Air Force,1943)  With Ronald Reagan and Craig Stevens.  Narrated by Art Gilmore.  This Army Air Force training film was designed to teach pilots how to avoid shooting down our own planes.  To demonstrate Ronald Reagan plays an overly confident flier who nearly shoots down one of our own P-40s!  (20 minutes, 1943 Kodak film stock)
BAPTISM OF FIRE
(United States Army, 1943)
With Elisha Cook Jr., Peter Whitney.   Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1944, this US Army training film starring Elisha Cook, Jr. focuses on the basic psychological human questions of all soldiers everywhere: How will I perform under enemy fire? Will I run away, or will I do what I’ve been trained to? The film depicts character Bill telling Jim to think of his buddies and his weapon, rather than of his own fears and of home. Killing an enemy from afar with a rifle is vividly contrasted with hand-to-hand combat, butt strokes, and bayonet thrusts. Shown to both GIs and home front industrial workers, the film worried the War Department because of its portrayal of vulnerable GIs, so its availability was stringently restricted; a realistic, bloody shocker. 

WAR FILM #18, FILM COMMUNIQUE, SEVENTH ISSUE (1945)

(War Department, A Signal Corps Production, with the cooperation of Combat Film Unites, Army Air Forces and the United States Navy)   Shown to civilian war workers in American factories, this is an excellent example of how the government used 16mm film to boost morale and impress on the public how deeply important it was to stay on the job and work hard because they were doing it not only for the troops but for themselves and the very survival of the country.  Part 1: Combat Film Unit, Burma Outpost.  Part 2: Private SNAFU.  Part 3: Combat Photo Unit, What Makes a Battle. 

WARNING!  Contains incidental nudity of captured Japanese Marines and some intense and grizzly footage of American and Japanese dead.  (20 minutes. Kodak 1944 film stock, v/a track)

DOVER-BRITAINS FRONT LINE REVISITED BY EDWARD R. MURROW (1942)
(United State Government/British Ministry of Information, Released by the [US] Office of War Information)  Legendary broadcast journalism pioneer Edward R. Murrow reports on the activities, determination and high spirits of the British people during the Blitz.  The significance of Murrow's war time shortwave broadcasts to the US cannot be overstated.  (10 minutes, 1943 Kodak stock, v/a track)



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