Hollywood went to war with gusto. Convinced that movies had an extraordinary power to mobilize public opinion, the U.S. Government "recruited" Hollywood to boost the war effort. The U.S. Government shot three and a half million feet of combat footage during the D-Day campaign alone. Automatic cameras were attached to airplanes and landing craft, achieving remarkable shots. But for all the elaborate planning, the final product depended on the skill and instincts of a handful of individuals who could capture and convey the power of the war.
Frank Capra, John Huston, John Ford, and William Wyler are among them. Their efforts helped strengthen the resolve of Americans at home and in the field. Along with these great directors, other major Hollywood figures such as Walt Disney, Clark Gable, Ronald Reagan, Walter Huston and scores of other motion picture industry stars and technicians added their creative energies to the task of winning the war. Morale-building propaganda became a staple of its plots and imagery.
Click here for another of our World War II projects ... Hitler to Hiroshima
It has been said that war is the stuff of which great films are made. World War II was no exception. Although many motion pictures made for the armed forces were made for purposes of education and morale building - often under conditions of severe hardship - the unifying vision of Capra, Huston, Ford, and Wyler elevated them above the level of mere historical records. At their best, they are highly personal statements about the realities of war - remarkable for their power, intelligence, and vision.
A 26 HOURS SERIES BASED ON AND INCLUDING THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED WARTIME DOCUMENTARIES CREATED BY AND STARRING HOLLYWOOD’S GREATEST TALENTS