News Flash From the Front

We've gotten a lot of questions about why we aren't covering contemporary WWII films. We did not, initially, preferring to limit our coverage exclusively to wartime Hollywood. But several of you made a good case for expanding our coverage to include modern productions (and TV) to broaden our appeal - and, importantly, expose new or younger people to the classic stars and movies. So we're retooling. Look for more contemporary coverage as well as clips from your favorite wartime stars.


Nurses Front and Center

With a pandemic flu threatening the nursing profession is in the news these days. So Proudly We Hail celebrates the sacrifices of US nurses in the Philippines during the early days of WWII. The 1943 film stars Claudette Colbert, Veronica Lake and Paulette Goddard with Lake's character becoming a suicide bomber of sorts - holding a live grenade and walking into a group of Japanese soldiers so the rest of her colleagues can escape them.


"So They Bombed Pearl Harbor, Did They?"

That question, uttered by taxi-driver-turned-Asian-adventurer Joe Tracey (Barry Nelson) in 1942's A Yank on the Burma Road, was the first mention of the attack in a Hollywood film. Today, with TV transmitted instantly from around the globe, we've forgotten how long images once took to reach audiences. There were weekly newsreels, but with long lead times, topical events made it into the movies much later. This utterance was recorded in post-production and the movie rushed into release in January, weeks after the Japanese assault on Hawaii. The New York Times panned the picture, calling it "a five-and-dime fiction." TCM has the trailer. Nelson's later claim to fame: the first James Bond. He played the agent in a 1954 made-for-TV version of Casino Royale.


Benny Goodman Swings

The Gang's All Here is a Busby Berkeley Technicolor musical featuring fruit-bearing Brazilian sensation Carmen Miranda (who sparked a censorship fracas with the position of her bananas), and below, bandleader Benny Goodman surrounding himself with energetic jitterbuggers. America, protected by two vast oceans, would never experience the horror of war on the Home Front, which made some citizens a bit guilty. Most, however, were just grateful, and the country's undamaged, youthful exuberance is present in this clip.