Page to Screen: The Diary of Anne Frank

If she had lived, Anne Frank would be ninety-one this year. Her diary, technically known in English as Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl, was first published in the Netherlands in 1947. The diary has been translated into sixty-five languages, sold over thirty-five million copies and is one of the most widely-read books outside … Continue reading Page to Screen: The Diary of Anne Frank

Reading Rarities: Morale-Building Activities In Foreign Armies

Dear friends, unless you've been in the military, I'm guessing your thoughts look something like this right now: "Yikes." "Wow." "This looks boring." Also highly likely: "What is it?" That was my question when I spied Morale-Building Activities In Foreign Armies while poking around Winston Smith Books several years ago. I asked the cashier about … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Morale-Building Activities In Foreign Armies

At the Stage Door Canteen

Much has been made of the Hollywood Canteen and its efforts to entertain the troops during the Second World War. They weren't the first to the party, however, not that anyone's counting, but Broadway got there way before them. In 1917, various Broadway stars, many of them women, founded the American Theatre Wing, which was … Continue reading At the Stage Door Canteen

You’re In the Army Now

Eighty years ago next year, the Abbott and Costello film, Buck Privates hit theaters. It was a tense time in the United States because we knew we would be in the Second World War at some point, but we didn't know when. President Roosevelt had just reinstated the draft, so men were shipped off to the … Continue reading You’re In the Army Now

Reading Rarities: Eating For Victory

OK, if you're thinking we've been here before, you'd sort of be right. It's World War Two-themed and it centers around food and family. Heck, I even did a review of a Marguerite Patten cookbook three years ago that had this exact title, sans the "Reading Rarity" part. Still, there are a few differences here, … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Eating For Victory

The Angels of Bataan and Corregidor

Like Wake Island, Bataan and Corregidor were attacked by the Japanese while Pearl Harbor was taking place. Even more obscure than what happened to the servicepeople are the experiences of military nurses in the Philippines. These women tirelessly labored with little to no medicine or resources, and nevertheless provided major support and encouragement to Americans … Continue reading The Angels of Bataan and Corregidor

Remember Wake Island

Pearl Harbor wasn't the only locale attacked by the Japanese in December of 1941. Another was Wake Island. It's one of the most isolated islands in the world, but Wake Island was both a Marine base and a refueling stop for the Pan American Clipper, which made it strategically important and therefore no small target … Continue reading Remember Wake Island

God Bless This Ship

In tribute to those who fought and died for freedom throughout the world... On this day in 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced in a slumped, defeated voice that Britain was at war with Germany. It was a supreme comedown for the man who blithely waved a copy of the Munich Pact in the … Continue reading God Bless This Ship

Shamedown #7: Thunderbolt

It's time for another Shamedown, and another invitation to pay the Cinema Shame folks a visit if anyone's curious about this whole Shame thing. And now, onward... Last year's Shamedown #7 was my review of the William Wyler documentary, The Memphis Belle, in which he flew several missions with a bomber crew, documenting their reactions and the … Continue reading Shamedown #7: Thunderbolt

Semper Fidelis

As I've said before, with many of their bigger stars and directors overseas, Hollywood studios had to get creative as to what kinds of films they made. Actors and actresses who normally played character or supporting roles were commonly moved into lead parts, and one example of this is the 1943 film, Salute To the Marines. Featuring … Continue reading Semper Fidelis

Rita Hayworth and World War Two

Well, hello, Miss Rita... As we've talked about on this blog before, Hollywood threw itself into doing its part during the Second World War. All efforts were vastly appreciated, but some stood out more than others, and one of those was Rita Hayworth. In the early nineteen forties, Rita's star was on a rapid ascent, … Continue reading Rita Hayworth and World War Two

The Fighting WACs

One obvious side effect of war, especially a global one, is the shortage of men at home, and World War Two was no different. Countless Hollywood fixtures, whether cast or crew, enlisted or were drafted into the armed forces, leaving studio rosters a little thin for the time being. Naturally, this gave rise to more … Continue reading The Fighting WACs

Ingrid’s Casablanca

Welcome back, Ms. Bergman! What hasn't been said about Casablanca? What hasn't been asked about Casablanca? This is a film that's been parsed, analyzed, memorialized, quoted, parodied, and collected more homage than most films in history, with the exception of Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz, of course. What's left to be said? Plenty. It's a classic film that we … Continue reading Ingrid’s Casablanca