world war II's posts - English uPOST

The World in a Tank The World in a Tank

A small group of soldiers from different nations and cultures work together to survive against Nazis in 1943's Sahara. Some of the soldiers have family or lovers back home but they’re led by Humphrey Bogart who says only about himself that he has no-one back home and he’s therefore less important. Of course that makes…

Humanity and Wire Fences Humanity and Wire Fences

My favourite era in filmmaking is in the first decades after World War II in Japan. Some of the greatest filmmakers of all time approached the complex feelings and conditions in the wake of defeat in a variety of effective ways. One of the most direct would be Masaki Kobayashi’s nearly ten hour film The Human Condition (人間の條件)

The Stories to Tell with Uneasy Allies The Stories to Tell with Uneasy Allies

I’m often surprised by the light-hearted attitude 1940s British comedies take towards World War II. A vivid example being 1946's I See a Dark Stranger, a comedy spy thriller about a naive Irishwoman who becomes a spy for Germany during the war. The film is a finely crafted enough comedy by Sidney Gilliat and Frank…

Be a Better Husband or a Better Wife in
the Royal Navy Be a Better Husband or a Better Wife in the Royal Navy

So you want a better life. Why not go to war? It’ll very likely improve both you and your spouse, or at least that’s the message in Alexander Korda’s 1945 wartime propaganda film Perfect Strangers (Vacation from Marriage in the U.S.), a message all the more insidious for the fact that it’s a pretty good movie with…

Into the Ambiguous Breach Into the Ambiguous Breach

There are a few reasons it seems strange that Winston Churchill wanted Laurence Olivier’s 1944 film version of Henry V as part of the propaganda effort for Britain. While it does feature the beautiful Saint Crispin’s Day, “band of brothers”, speech and features the English fighting in France, the motives for doing so…

Ella Muggins versus the Axis Ella Muggins versus the Axis

Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves, grab your bucket, and go assassinate Hitler yourself. That’s what cleaning woman Ella Muggins decides to do in 1944's Passport to Destiny when she finds her dead husband’s magic amulet in the attic. The only lead role for Elsa Lanchester in her entire career, I’ve been…

The Killings of Every Day The Killings of Every Day

Many filmmakers have endeavoured with varying degrees of success to convey the visceral feelings evoked by the experience of war from the point of view of a soldier. Director Samuel Fuller had an advantage over most in that he was actually a World War II veteran and his experiences inspired much of his 1980 film The…

All This in the Royal Navy All This in the Royal Navy

Ships may sink, spouses may die, but there’ll always be Britain. And that’s more than a small thing says 1942's In Which We Serve, a rather effective propaganda film from team Noel Coward and David Lean—but mostly Noel Coward as the opening credits make clear, telling us it’s a Noel Coward film, written by Noel…

Twice Non-existent Twice Non-existent

In 1943, the British dropped a cadaver in the ocean off the coast of Spain as part of Operation Mincemeat. Dressed as a fictitious soldier named William Martin, the cadaver carried forged correspondence which successfully misled the Axis powers as to the location of a planned British assault in the Mediterranean. In…

Brutal Occupiers are One Thing but
Sexual Indiscretions?   Brutal Occupiers are One Thing but Sexual Indiscretions?  

Was having sex the most dangerous thing you could do in Europe during World War II? In my inexpert opinion I would say no but that's the argument made by 1960's Five Branded Women, a film that attracted me with its impressive and unlikely cast but it has a story that's almost as interestingly absurd as an exploitation…

The Ghost of a Fighting Dream The Ghost of a Fighting Dream

Many challenges arise in the life of a girl who takes her first steps into womanhood. For example, her parents and supervisors may not understand her passion for creating rifle scope lenses as part of the effort to destroy America and Britain. Akira Kurosawa's 1944 propaganda film, The Most Beautiful (一番美しく), portrays…

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