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Victory Through Air Power (1943)
Topic Started: Aug 17 2008, 12:55 PM (531 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Victory Through Air Power (1943) Dir. Perce Pierce
A Walt Disney Production
Released by United Artists
70 min. / Technicolor / 1.33:1
DVD: Walt Disney Treasures collection On The Front Lines

The Wonderful World of Walt Disney #06

This is a WWII propaganda film created by Walt Disney to illustrate the principal theme of the book "Victory Through Air Power" by Major Alexander de Seversky, who argues that warfare of the future will be won or lost through the air, and urging the U.S. to invest in a fleet of strategic long-range bombers. This animated film (with a few live-action sequences with Major de Seversky) begins with a long, highly entertaining sequence showing the invention of heavier-than-air flight, followed by sequences with the then-current war in the Far East and Europe. The last section of the film discusses various ways the war could be brought to a successful conclusion and illustrates how wars will be fought in the future.

The film is simple and powerful, made with all of the Disney factory's typical artistry and color. Watching the history of aviation, I wondered if any Britons of the early 20th century got a cold chill when they realized that the invention of air flight meant their little island was no longer impervious to enemy attack; I would've. The horrors of war, with the illustration of newer and more terrible bombs and an oh-so-casual mention of the 1942 bombing of Cologne, which killed so many hundreds of civilians, are in evidence. As entertainment, as propaganda, and as a though-provoking treatise on war and peace, this film is a grand success. Disney self-financed it because he was a strong believer in it; RKO passed on distributing it, so Walt went back to United Artists. It played here and there, was shown to Roosevelt and Churchill, and then segments of it turned up later on the Disney TV show, for which the film was a blueprint for the "serious" episodes they did.

"Our country in the past has struggled through many storms of anguish, difficulty, and doubt. But we have always been saved by men of vision and courage who opened our minds and showed us the way out of confusion." - from the introduction. Sexism aside... does our country have such leaders today?

Also on the Program

For the kiddies, a trio of classic Disney wartime shorts, Private Pluto, How to be a Sailor with Goofy, and the all-time classic Der Fuehrer's Face with Donald Duck. We exited the theatre with the Seven Dwarfs entreating us to purchase war bonds and stamps.
Edited by Laughing Gravy, Jul 22 2018, 09:48 AM.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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thadk
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Funny, I thought it was boring as hell.
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Laughing Gravy
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Serial fans would like it, too; it contains many sequences that appear to be cartoon versions of chapterplay highlights.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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shelbyvinje
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Maltin did a introduction for the DVD and offers a bit of background. I also went on the web and read all about it, so then when I watched the film from the Disney Treasures, I came to appreciate the film more than I would have before.
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Laughing Gravy
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Updated for a new generation.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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CliffClaven
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I'm sure I remember seeing "Der Fuehrer's Face" on TV as a kid in the early 60s, specifically the assembly line (the Duck saluting framed portraits of Hitler that come down the belt next to the bombs), the nightmare (a Hitler bomb pounding the heads of endless Donald Ducks), and the closing bit of Donald Duck waking up. Wish I could remember the context, since it seems pretty unlikely they used it on the Disney hour.

Probably the most successful Disney propaganda came after the war: the three "Man in Space" TV shows. As I understand it, Ward Kimball was assigned to do the shows and approached Werner Von Braun for technical advice. Von Braun and his fellow rocket scientists, eager to go beyond purely weapon-based research, seized the opportunity to sell space exploration to the general public. Note the emphasis on specific plans for space ships and space stations.
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JazzGuyy
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CliffClaven
Jul 22 2018, 09:33 PM
I'm sure I remember seeing "Der Fuehrer's Face" on TV as a kid in the early 60s, specifically the assembly line (the Duck saluting framed portraits of Hitler that come down the belt next to the bombs), the nightmare (a Hitler bomb pounding the heads of endless Donald Ducks), and the closing bit of Donald Duck waking up. Wish I could remember the context, since it seems pretty unlikely they used it on the Disney hour.

Probably the most successful Disney propaganda came after the war: the three "Man in Space" TV shows. As I understand it, Ward Kimball was assigned to do the shows and approached Werner Von Braun for technical advice. Von Braun and his fellow rocket scientists, eager to go beyond purely weapon-based research, seized the opportunity to sell space exploration to the general public. Note the emphasis on specific plans for space ships and space stations.
There were a lot of things happening in popular media around the same time that pushed the idea of space exploration and got the American public excited about space travel. There was a series of articles in Look magazine with illustrations by Chesley Bonestell that showed rockets and a space station essentially the same as that on the Disney show. I believe the Look stuff preceded the Disney. Popular science write Willy Ley had also published The Conquest of Space in 1949, which kicked off the whole thing. Von Braun was involved in all these ventures in some fashion, if memory serves me.
TANSTAAFL!
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Frank Hale
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I found the film fascinating when I saw it. But I'm a history buff, and it's no doubt pretty much of a niche item for most people.

I'm not sure I entirely get "updated for a new generation".

I remember Fuehrer's Face (or at least excerpts) from the Disney shows too. Wasn't the cartoon in limbo for a long time because of the same Disney corporation mindset that says we are also not allowed to see Pecos Bill smoking?

I am going to spare all of you the long rant I had briefly contemplated about WWII PC-revisionism, and how fifty-five million people died to create the post-war era that is now being so gleefully cast aside.

As Gravy would say, "you're welcome."
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rodney
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Frank Hale
Jul 23 2018, 02:43 PM
I found the film fascinating when I saw it. But I'm a history buff, and it's no doubt pretty much of a niche item for most people.

I'm not sure I entirely get "updated for a new generation".

I remember Fuehrer's Face (or at least excerpts) from the Disney shows too. Wasn't the cartoon in limbo for a long time because of the same Disney corporation mindset that says we are also not allowed to see Pecos Bill smoking?

I am going to spare all of you the long rant I had briefly contemplated about WWII PC-revisionism, and how fifty-five million people died to create the post-war era that is now being so gleefully cast aside.

As Gravy would say, "you're welcome."
I think Gravy means that he updated the review after he watched it again.

But, you make a valid point that a generation survived the depression and won the war, and now, as a society, we dismiss their entire pop-culture as passť and irrelevant. It's disrespectful.
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MovieMan
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No mention that the United States won the war with their allies, huh?
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rodney
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MovieMan
Jul 25 2018, 03:49 AM
No mention that the United States won the war with their allies, huh?
I think all of us here have a basic understanding of world history, and I think that goes without saying.
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MovieMan
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rodney
Jul 25 2018, 05:06 AM
MovieMan
Jul 25 2018, 03:49 AM
No mention that the United States won the war with their allies, huh?
I think all of us here have a basic understanding of world history, and I think that goes without saying.
You should go tell that to Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg, who, I think both had a reason for portraying the United States the way they did in Pearl Harbour and Saving Private Ryan.
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rodney
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I don't regularly hang out with those two guys.
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MovieMan
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rodney
Jul 25 2018, 06:00 AM
I don't regularly hang out with those two guys.
You should, you'd fit right in.
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Frank Hale
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My 55 million death total included all the allies and all the bad guys. It's what I remember from a Library of America set.

Wikipedia shows an even higher number of 70- to 85- million, which I am sure you can track down if you're interested.

Either way, I don't think it can be logically inferred that I said America won the war single-handedly.

It was more a statement that we never seem to learn as a species, and I'll bet I'm not the first guy to say that.
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