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Films made during World War 2

What happened to films made in  Hollywood when America joined the war? Which actors were conscripted? How did America’s participation in the war affect relations with Germany? Read on to find out.

1941

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour in 1941, the U.S.A were involved in the war against Germany, and soon directors made films explicitly relating to the conflict. Amongst the most well known was Alfred Hitchcock’s Sabotage. The speech at the end was a way of getting a public who were against the idea of another war to see what they were fighting against. Quentin Reynolds narrates London Can Take It, 1941, encouraging the USA to take up arms. 

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Michael Powells’ The Forty Ninth Parallel stars Eric Portman as a German trying to escape from Canada to the US.

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 Humphrey Jennings directs Listen To Britain, about the effects of the war.

1942

Michael Curtiz overcomes severe production problems to make what is arguably the most famous film set during the second world war, Casablanca. Ernest Lubitsch pokes fun at the Nazis in To Be or Not to Be. Much later Mel Brooks remakes the film. David Lean and Noel Coward direct In Which We Serve, the archetypal War film. Went The Day Well, directed by Alberto Cavalcanti from a script by Graham Greene, shows  German paratroopers invading an English village.

 

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Robert Donat as Young Mr Pitt provides more wartime propagnda.

1943

David MacDonald’s Desert Victory is a classic war documentary.

Leslie Howard dies when his plane is shot down by Nazis.

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1944

Laurence Olivier makes Henry V into a rousing patriotic boost to wartime spirits.

1945

The documentary True Glory provides an uplifting account of the last years of the war.

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Anthony Asquith’s The Way to the Stairs successfully recreates the wartime mood.

Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City electrifies audiences with its amateur approach, made mostly with amateur actors. 

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