By Michael E. Birdwell
During the Nineteen Thirties many americans kept away from pondering warfare erupting in Europe, believing it of little relevance to their very own lives. but, the Warner Bros. movie studio launched into a digital campaign to alert american citizens to the becoming threat of Nazism.
Polish-Jewish immigrants Harry and Jack Warner risked either acceptance and fortune to notify the yank public of the insidious probability Hitler's regime posed in the course of the global. via a ranking of movies produced in the course of the Thirties and early 1940s-including the pivotal Sergeant York-the Warner Bros. studio marshaled its forces to persuade the yank moral sense and push towards intervention in international conflict II.
Celluloid squaddies offers a compelling old examine Warner Bros.'s efforts because the in basic terms significant studio to advertise anti-Nazi job sooner than the outbreak of the second one global War.
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Extra resources for Celluloid Soldiers: The Warner Bros. Campaign Against Nazism
Mayer’s production chief, Irving Thalberg, visited MGM’s German operations in 1934 to assess the situation. ”71 Though Thalberg believed that it was unfortunate that German Jews were endangered by the official anti-Semitic stance of the Nazi government, he considered the situation to be temporary. He declared that German Jews should not try to fight the Nazis, nor should Jews in Hollywood interfere in any way. Thalberg’s assessment of Nazism, while galling and incredible, typified the attitude commonly held by most Hollywood moguls: Hitler represented something of a problem, but Hollywood Jews could continue doing business with him.
108 In such an atmosphere, Hollywood producers tried to avoid offending their Latin neighbors. 109 Increased tension in Europe only served to exacerbate the situation. The invasion of Poland in 1939 led to the unanimous acceptance of the “Declaration of Panama,” brainchild of Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles. It proposed an incredibly silly plan to create a gargantuan security zone around the Western Hemisphere, forbidding any belligerent acts within it. S. ” Its futility was made manifest in December 1939, when the German pocket battleship Graf Spee sank eight British cargo ships in the South Atlantic and then steamed to Montevideo.
Can shut down an American film. . 98 MGM’s timidity regarding It Can’t Happen Here seems rather curious since the novel had already been dramatized and repeatedly performed by the Federal Theatre Project (FTP). 99 It should be noted, however, that the FTP appealed to a smaller, more elite audience than the cinema, and at the same time it gave artists greater leeway than filmmakers had, because of the lack of oversight by any organ similar to the PCA. Most plays, such as Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour, that made their way from Broadway to film had to be toned down and approved by the Breen office before they could be shot.