Motion Picture Herald (Jul-Aug 1944)

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WAR THEMES DROP TO 12% OF PRODUCT FOR 1944-45 ^rend Away from Warlike Films Became Apparent During This Season i On the basis of schedules announced and atures planned to date for 1944-45, only 12 ■r cent of the 423 to 448 features indicated for divery next season by the 11 motion picture ■mpanies will deal in some way with the war action, romance, comedy, melodrama or usical films. Hollywood reached a peak in the production •war action films and pictures with war and ome front backgrounds in 1942-43, with 27 ;r cent of the total releases for that year 'lling into the three categories. Tentative schedules for 1944-45 of the ajor and independent producers point to eater emphasis on musicals, in black and ■bite and in Technicolor, comedies, romances and dramas. A study of properties announced for products next season and of those now on the backg shows continuation of the trend away from -aight war action themes, which began this lason. 7ar Documentary Films ad Place on Screen War documentary features made by the jrmy, Navy, the Office of War Information id the British Ministry of Information and leased through major companies or through >e War Activities Committee found their ace on the nation's screens in the last four asons. In 1940-41 there were, among others, "World Flames," "40,000 Horsemen," "Kukan" and This England." The following year, "Battle ry of China," "Ferry Pilot," "Target for Toght," "United We Stand." In 1942-43 "Dest Victory," "Fires Were Started," "Next of in." "Report from the Aleutians," "Prelude War," "World at War," and "World of enty." This season there were included "Atck," "Battle of Russia," "Tunisian Victory" id "Memphis Belle." In addition, there have :en more than 50 Russian war features and orts released in the U. S. by Artkino in the .st four seasons. In the season just before Pearl Harbor, '40-41, Selective Service already had begun make inroads in the civilian population and is was reflected in a few of Hollywood's reases, but of^the 512 pictures released that ason, only 45 had war backgrounds. everal Were Straight War ction Adventure Stories Several were straight war action stories like 7light Command," "Dive Bomber," "Interzonal Squadron" and "Foreign Correspon•nt" Others dealt with the psychology of iscist terrorism, including "Escape," "Underound," "So Ends Our Night" and "The reat Dictator." "Caught in the Draft," the ■medy starring Bob Hope, had for its theme e Army camp life of a rookie. This comedy lase also was successful in the Hal Roach ms with William Tracy, and the Abbott and istello picture, "Buck Privates." By 1941-42, the first war year, the release iart continued to reflect increasing national terest in the world crisis. Of the 534 films OTION PICTURE HERALD, JULY 29, 1944 1940-41 1941-42 194-2-45 1945-44 1944-45 512 I 554 ■ 468 I 422 ■ 425 The chart shows in red the number of war action, background and home front films released for each of five seasons, compared to the total number of pictures delivered each season, giving the percentage of war films. released, 15 per cent, or 80 pictures, had war themes or backgrounds. "Bombardier," "Eagle Squadron," "Flying Tigers," "The Invaders," "Joan of Paris," "Joe Smith, American," "Saboteur," "Sergeant York" and "A Yank in the R.A.F." were some of the outstanding war films of that season. Peak Was Reached During 1942-43, with 27 Per Cent The peak was reached in 1942-43, with 27 per cent of the 468 releases, or 129 features, stressing the war angle. In number and quality the war films of this season far exceeded those of the two previous years. Such pictures as "Action in the North Atlantic," "Air Force," "Bataan," "Behind the Rising Sun," "Commandos Strike at Dawn," "Corregidor," "Edge of Darkness," "Hitler's Children," "Immortal Sergeant," "Journey for Margaret," "Keeper of the Flame," "Mission to Moscow," "The Moon Is Down," "The More the Merrier," "One of Our Aircraft Is Missing," "Pied Piper," "Stage Door Canteen," "They Got Me Covered," "This Is the Army," "Wake Island" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy," explored a variety of subjects in translating war drama and comedy to the screen. Although the number of war features dropped from 129 in 1942-43 to 109 in the past season, representing 25 per cent of the 422 films released, the quality of the product was sustained and there were a number of outstanding pictures with a war or home front angle. Included on the roster were "Address Unknown," "City That Stopped Hitler," "Corvette K-225," "Cry Havoc," "Destination Tokyo," "Dragon Seed," "Eve of St. Mark," "Fighting Seabees," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "Guadalcanal Diary," "Gung Ho," "A Guy Named Joe," "The Hitler Gang," "Lifeboat," "Miracle of Morgan's Creek," "North Star," "Passage to Marseille," "Princess O'Rourke," "The Purple Heart," "Sahara," "Salute to the Marines," "Since You Went Away," "Song of Russia," "The Story of Dr Wassell," "The Sullivans," "Up in Arms," "Victory Through Air Power," "Watch on the Rhine" and the "White Cliffs of Dover." Lowest Percentage Since Season of 1940-41 Only 12 per cent of the product tentatively scheduled for the coming season, 53 pictures out of a promised 423-448, fall into the category of war or home front themes and backgrounds. This is the lowest percentage of releases^stressing war angles since the season of Some of the pictures for 1944-45, now in production, on the backlog awaiting release or about to go before the cameras include: "Impatient Years," "Tonight and Every Night; "Sergeant Mike," "Counter-attack," "Jacobowsky and the Colonel," "Marriage Is a Private Affair," "The Seventh Cross," "A Wave, a WAC and a Marine," "Alaska," "Practically Yours," "A Medal for Benny," "The Searching Wind," "When the Lights Go on Again." Also "The Master Race," "Experiment Perilous," "Betrayal from the East," "My Buddy," "Storm Over Lisbon," "Something for the Boys," "Winged Victory," "Sunday Dinner for a Soldier," "Story of G.I. Joe," "Tomorrow the World," "The Doughgirls," "Objective Burma, "Hollywood Canteen," "Hotel Berlin" and "God Is My Co-Pilot." It is to be noted that only such features which were keyed directly or indirectly to specific military or Naval campaigns, home front aspects, underground movements in Europe the Nazi terror reign, participation by the Allied countries, or those films which used such themes as important background for the screen stories, were included in the tabulation of the five-season comparison of war films. Lawson of Odeon Appointed To Canadian Relief Post J E%] Lawson of Toronto, vice-president of Udeon Theatres of Canada and of Empire-Universal hlms, has been appointed to an important post in the Canadian organization of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Mr. Lawson, who is also a member of the Canadian Picture Pioneers, has been named executive chairman of the Council of Canadian Voluntary Agencies. The Council comprises high officials of the Canadian Red Cross, Salvation Army, Canadian Jewish Congress and the Union of Catholic bocial Agencies. Taussig Capitol Manager Douglas Taussig, formerly manager of the Bardavon theatre, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., is now house manager at the New York Capitol theatre. Herman Landwehr, former manager at the Capitol, has been promoted to managing director. 13