After the government proclaimed movies as "an essential industry" President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his State of the Union address to Congress in January 1942, explained the six areas around which he felt film propaganda could be based. Movies could be the nation's cheerleader making the average American believe that the enemy was evil, home was worth protecting, and all the danger and difficulties of war were justified. The themes of doing one's part for the war effort, being patriot, helping out were emphasized.
The issues of war (why we are fighting)
The nature of the enemy - propaganda films were designed to impersonalize individuals and show their warped values threatening the American way of life. ("We" vs. "Them" approach)
Suspicion - Director: Billy Wilder
Five Graves to Cairo - Director: Billy Wilder
The Hitler Gang
Tomorrow, the World
The united nations (our allies in arms) - Propaganda concept: gain sympathy and support for U. S. allies abroad.
These movies stereotyped the Allied countries showing them to be good, honorable, brave and devoid of normal human flaws.
White Cliffs of Dover
This Land Is Mine
Edge of Darkness
Mission to Moscow
The production front
Tender Comrades - factory-worker wives kept their spirits up while husbands were at war
The home front
The More the Merrier - sublet a room in Washington, D.C. during the war housing shortage; shows ingenuity - romantic comedy. Cast: Jean Arthur, Charles Coburn, Joel McCrea.
Since You Went Away -
escapism - This Is the Army, Hollywood Canteen, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Anchors Aweigh - flag-waving morale boosters
Entertainment movies, movies made ignoring the war and not mentioning hard times - Meet Me in St. Louis, Cover Girl, The Gang's All Here, Lassie Come Home, National Velvet, My Friend Flicka, The Yearling, The Red Pony, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi,
The fighting forces - romanticized version of events at the beginning of the war -
Casablanca - 1943 Academy Award winner - war romance
The fighting forces - less romantic and more realistic version at the end of the war
A Walk in the Sun
1944 - The Purple Heart
So Proudly We Hail
1945 - The Story of G. I. Joe
Resource tools: Martin, Mick and Porter, Marsha. Video Movie Guide 2001 Ballantine Publishing, 2000.
Simon, Charnan. Hollywood at War: The Motion Picture Industry and World War II. NY: Franklin Watts: 1995.