Wednesday, March 18, 2009

World War II Movies You Might Have Missed

You won’t find many battle scenes in these films. The emphasis here is on relationships and human ingenuity in the face of deep trouble. A few of these are romantic comedies and others have unhappy endings. "Sappy” could be used to describe the older ones, but since the purpose of Hollywood in the 1940’s was to raise morale, the movies came loaded with images of home and family to remind folks what they were fighting for. Please note that even though these films are not as gritty as other WWII flicks, there are some disturbing images in a few of them. Some are not yet available on DVD.

Listed in order of release date the movies are:

Mrs. Miniver (1942) – Supposedly Churchill loved this movie which won 6 of 12 Oscar nominations.
The Human Comedy  (1943) was nominated for four Oscars and won one for best writing. It features a teen-aged Mickey Rooney coping with life on the home front.
Five Graves to Cairo (1943) – a great mystery
So Proudly We Hail (1943) – Claudette Colbert leads the cast in a story about nurses who served in the Pacific.
Up in Arms [VHS] (1944) – Danny Kaye sings and bungles his way through his first movie (and defeats the Japanese at the same time).
Four Jills in a Jeep (1944) – This comedy/musical about a female entertainment troupe is based on a true story, but romanticized by Hollywood.
The Last Chance (1945) – While not a particularly great movie, it is the first WWII movie I’ve ever seen that showed the realistic mixture of languages refugees would have spoken as they fled their various countries.
Three Came Home (1950) – Claudette Colbert is great in this POW movie.
- Bright Victory (1951) – Interesting look at racism at that time. I love Peggy Dow.
- The Scarlet and the Black (1983 TV movie) – Gregory Peck is a Catholic priest who helps Jews and Allied soldiers during the war. An amazing story with an amazing ending.
One Against the Wind [VHS] (1991) – A Hallmark film based on the true story of Countess Mary Lindell who helped allied soldiers escape through the French Underground.
Entertaining the Troops [VHS] (1994) – This documentary highlights Bob Hope’s travels during the war. Actual footage is shown of some battle scenes, but since Bing Crosby is singing in the background (!), it is not very heavy.
Paradise Road (1997) – If you missed this story of a women’s POW camp with Glenn Close and Cate Blanchett, rent it immediately. The story and acting are exceptional.

Well, there you have it. A baker’s dozen of World War II films to put on your Netflix queue. Let me know if you enjoy any of them.


Carol in Oregon said...

Hope, this is great! Well, *I* think it is great. I can sense that my husband is getting weary, and wearier of WWII. He also doesn't have the patience with the pace and sentimentality of older films.

May I add some that we've watched?

• A Town Like Alice (a 1956 film about a woman taken prisoner in Malaysia? by the Japanese. I kept thinking of Paradise Road when I watched it, although they are very different. An incredibly long move (300+ minutes) that I couldn't stop until it was finished, even though it wasn't THAT good!

• Bonhoeffer, Agent of Grace was a good film, but I felt like it was an abridgment. It did a lot of skimming.

I just realized your title was WWII Movies you might have missed. Oops! So I probably shouldn't mention The Hiding Place? (giggle)

I own Paradise Road; I adore the vocal sections on it and Glenn Close just gets it perfect, don't you think?

I will check more out, especially One Against the Wind. Thanks for a fabulous post!


Beth said...

What a great list. I love World War II movies! Many on your list I haven't seen so I will have to remedy that. I do have to say that One Against and the Wind and the Scarlet and the Black are personal favorites of mine. Thanks for the great post.


Anna said...

We posted this on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric