Superman

The first live-action Superman movie serial, released in 1948 was the most profitable movie serial in history.   Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, Superman first appeared in Action Comics in 1938.   Paramount Pictures released a series of Superman...

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Tales of the South Pacific

In 1948 James Michener won the Pulitzer Prize for his series of short stories entitled Tales of the South Pacific.  Derived from his experience with the US Navy in the New Hebrides Islands during the Pacific Campaign of World War II, the fascinating stories focus on...

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Miracle On 34TH Street 

  Miracle on 34th Street  was a 1947 film written and directed by George Seaton and based on a story by Valentine Davies. It stars Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, a very young Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn as the charming Kris Kringle. The heartwarming story, about a...

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Brigadoon 

  Brigadoon, a musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe,  premiered on Broadway in 1947 and ran for 581 performances.  A 1954 film version starred Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, and a 1966 television version starred Robert Goulet and Peter Falk. In the show, the...

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Kon-Tiki

  Inspired by reports from Spanish Conquistadors of Inca rafts, native legends and archaeological evidence suggesting contact between South America and Polynesia, the Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl. made a balsa wood raft journey across the Pacific Ocean...

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Hollywood Black List

In October 1947 the House Un-American Activities Committee (created in 1938) re-convened in Washington D.C. for public hearings on alleged communist infiltration within the American motion picture industry. 50 top Hollywood executives decided to suspend those who...

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Post-WWII USSR

  Here is an optimistic view of postwar relationships between Great Britain and the USSR.   To get a sense of life in the USSR in 1947 it's worth fast forwarding through these interesting, rather upbeat color scenes of everyday life.   You don't need to know Russian...

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Mickey Spillaine

Frank Morrison Spillane (March 9, 1918 – July 17, 2006), better known as Mickey Spillane, was an American cartoonist turned crime novelist, who wrote from the point of view of a private detective named Mike Hammer. "Bestselling writer of shoot-em-up crime novels" is...

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It’s A Wonderful Life

  After a series of populist films in the 1930s (It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and You Can't Take It With You), Frank Capra read a forgotten story entitled The Greatest Gift written by Philip Van Doren Stern and turned...

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Song of the South

  Song of the South was produced by Walt Disney in 1946 as a live-action/animated musical based on African-American folktales compiled by Joel Chandler Harris in 1881 in the book Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings: The Folk-Lore of the Old Plantation. The story...

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Postwar Hiroshima & Nagasaki

This home movie really took me there.   Although grainy, watch this short film clip of 8mm home movies taken by U.S. Army Major Morris Hall during a 3-month tour of Japan less than a year after surrender. Filming with an 8mm home movie camera, Major Hall documented...

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The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives was a 1946  film directed by William Wyler that starred Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, and Harold Russell. The film tells the story of three United States servicemen readjusting to civilian life after...

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The Great Glinka 

  The Great Glinka  (Глинка) was a 1946 Soviet film directed by Lev Arnshtam. Awarded the Stalin Prize, the film depicts the life of Mikhail Glinka, a Russian composer of the 19th century. Incorporating Russian folk songs into his compositions, Glinka, despite his...

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Cannes Film Festival

  Although originally scheduled to be held in Cannes in 1939, the outbreak of WWII delayed the opening of the first International Film Festival until September 1946 when twenty-one countries presented their films. Held on the French Riviera, the festival was designed...

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Soviet Propaganda

This quirky, undated Soviet propaganda film reflects the Communist view of Western imperialism during the Cold War.

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Burmese Harp / Grave of the Fireflies

Adapted from the novel by Michio Takeyama, this 1956 film directed by Ichikawa Kon, involves a company of Japanese Imperial Army troops who finally surrender in the last desperate stages of the Burma campaign. When their company commander begins to lead them in songs...

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Under the Sand

From 1940-1943, the Danish government pursued a course of cautious cooperation with the occupying forces of Nazi Germany. However, in 1943, with increased turbulence and sabotage by the underground resistance movement, the Germans imposed a state of emergency and...

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They Were Expendable

Starring: Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed While the 1945 cinema in Nazi Germany re-lived historical victories and the Imperial Japanese turned toward animation to inspire their citizens, American films touted valor and victory. Nominated for two Oscars, They...

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Das Volk Steht Auf

THE PEOPLE STAND UP In January 1945, as the Allies were closing in on the fatherland from the east and west, the director Veit Harlan released the historical film Kolberg to motivate Germans not to give in to the Allies. The film, based on the autobiography of Joachim...

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Momotaro the Sea God Soldier

This scene from Momotaro the Sea God Soldier (桃太郎 海の神兵), the first Japanese feature-length animated film, was directed by Mitsuyo Seo. Commissioned by the Japanese Naval Ministry, the film, released in 1945 by the Shochiku Moving Picture Laboratory, was a sequel to...

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Censorship WWII USA

This 1944 U.S. Army instructional film about censorship incorporates the humor, sexuality and racism of the time. During the war, U.S. government control of the news by the Office of War Information was comprehensive. All correspondence between active duty military...

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Rikugun (Army)

Army (陸軍 Rikugun, a powerful, multi-generational epic about military legacy and parental love during wartime, was directed in 1944 by Keisuke Kinoshita. The film starred Chishū Ryū and Kinuyo Tanaka. The film's silent, final scene was controversial at the time and...

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Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips

Unfortunately, this cartoon, released in April 1944, can no longer be found online in its entirety. Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips, portrayed classical Western racist stereotypes of the Japanese - short, buck-toothed people wearing thick eyeglasses and talking jibberish. At...

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Camera Thrills of WWII

This American propaganda film made by Castle Films emphasizes the "thrill" of war. Intended to be upbeat and exciting, perhaps motivating enlistment, it captures the spirit of the...

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The Most Beautiful

The Most Beautiful was a 1944 Japanese propaganda film, written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. Young women working in a WWII military optics factory overcome many personal hardships in patriotic commitment to wartime Imperial Japan.  ...

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