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Joe Thompson

Thom: I liked the way you tried to find out the ways in which the movie was used as propaganda. That element is often missing when people write about propaganda movies. My personal favorite WWII propanda movies are Capra's "Why We Fight" series.

Joe Thompson ;0)


Thank you Joe. This isn't the type of film I prefer to investigate (meaning a war documentary), but since I all but avoided exploring how filmmakers interpreted WWI through cinema (with the exception of Shoulder Arms (1918)) I figured I'd tackle filmmaking in this later war head on.

Following the news sources about this film led me in certain directions. Most fascinating for me was how the film was used as propaganda--not just to predict the behavior of people watching it (recent studies have shown how ineffective films have been at this)--but as a threat to convince leaders to submit. Based on my own journey through film history, which is intended to reveal changes in film production, distribution, exhibition and reaction over time (among other things), that's a pretty unique use of film exhibition.

We all know propaganda when we see it, but I found it more interesting to see how diplomats tried to use this film for extortion; to examine what was in the film that could be used in such ways; to see how was it received in this country and why. It's hard to do all that in the limited blog format, but I gave it a shot.

re: the second half of your comment. Capra is a favorite filmmaker of mine. I've avoided examining his films here 'cause I'm much too attached to them. I am watching the Why We Fight series as part of my ongoing WWII film exploration, but probably won't comment on them here.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your comment here, Joe. I appreciate your input.

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