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War films for women-- what would you pick?

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In May, my theme in the Essentials forum will be 'War Films as Propaganda for Female Audiences.' I will be reviewing four titles.

 

One of them will be THE WAR AGAINST MRS. HADLEY (1942); and another will be THE GENTLE SEX (1943), a British production. But I haven't chosen the other two yet. 

 

Any suggestions...?

 

Here are the possible choices:

 

MRS. MINIVER (1942)

SWING SHIFT MAISIE (1943)

THE AMAZING MRS. HOLLIDAY (1943)

MILLIONS LIKE US (1943)

SO PROUDLY WE HAIL! (1943)

TENDER COMRADE (1943)

THE LAMP STILL BURNS (1943)

SINCE YOU WENT AWAY (1944)

FOUR JILLS IN A JEEP (1944)

ROSIE THE RIVETER (1944)

LADIES COURAGEOUS (1944)

TWO THOUSAND WOMEN (1944)

CRY 'HAVOC' (1944)

MEET THE PEOPLE (1944)

KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY (1945)

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Great topic.    Just off the top of my head I would recommend Government Girl with Olivia DeHavilland.

 

Not a great film but it is about how a strong and intelligent women can assist the war effort and her country while staying in the USA.      Also,  since it is a film that was made while Olivia and Warner Bros. were having difficulties and therefore Olivia was loaned out to Selznick in return for Ingrid Bergman to be in Casablanca.

 

This is also one of the last films Anne Shirley did.    Anne looks more like Olivia than actual sister Joan, but in the film they play roommates.    

 

 

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I grew up with two World War II era films that I thought were particularly good, but on opposite extremes:

 

Howard Hawks' I Was a Male War Bride starring Cary Grant and Ann Sheridan, a screwball comedy and So Proudly We Hail!, a Claudette Colbert vehicle based on the true story of Army nurses at the Battle of Corregidor in the Philippines.

 

And of course my war film upbringing would include 2 MGM classics--

 

Thirty Seconds over Tokyo starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson-- this has a warm love story, which I think is appealing to women, with an obligatory, but cleanly Surgical,Aviation bombing in the conclusion.

 

And For Me and My Gal, starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, but this would be World War I; again a very engaging love story with a draft dodger twist and Judy singing all those endearing Vaudeville and World War I era songs.

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And For Me and My Gal, starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, but this would be World War I; again a very engaging love story with a draft dodger twist and Judy singing all those endearing Vaudeville and World War I era songs.

 

This reminds me of THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER-- a title I like very much and wanted to review. But I decided against it because most of the action focuses on the first World War, and it only becomes "current" at the end. 

 

My focus will be on WWII films for women (made during WWII). 

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Great topic.    Just off the top of my head I would recommend Government Girl with Olivia DeHavilland.

 

Not a great film but it is about how a strong and intelligent women can assist the war effort and her country while staying in the USA.      Also,  since it is a film that was made while Olivia and Warner Bros. were having difficulties and therefore Olivia was loaned out to Selznick in return for Ingrid Bergman to be in Casablanca.

 

This is also one of the last films Anne Shirley did.    Anne looks more like Olivia than actual sister Joan, but in the film they play roommates.    

 

Thanks James for the suggestion. I looked to see if I have a copy and I do. 

 

It seems Olivia hated the film, but probably because it was "punishment" for her lawsuit against Jack Warner. That's a war of another kind. LOL

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I think TENDER COMRADE would be a most interesting choice.  You have the film story of different "Rosie the Riveters"  while husbands/sons are at war and you have the behind-the-scenes where some of those involved would have to deal with the HUAC in a few years.  Quite a contrast between propaganda fiction and real life drama.

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I think TENDER COMRADE would be a most interesting choice. You have the film story of different "Rosie the Riveters" while husbands/sons are at war and you have the behind-the-scenes where some of those involved would have to deal with the HUAC in a few years. Quite a contrast between propaganda fiction and real life drama.

Christine--

 

Your mentioning that Ginger Rogers movie reminds me of another Ginger Rogers movie which takes place during the war.

 

It's a Bittersweet love story, "I'll Be Seeing You", featuring that beautiful song that was Liberace's theme song.

 

This movie is really a little off-beat with Ginger Falling in Love with a shell-shocked Soldier, Joseph Cotten, while she wrestles with her own personal tragedy.

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Christine--

 

Your mentioning that Ginger Rogers movie reminds me of another Ginger Rogers movie which takes place during the war.

 

It's a Bittersweet love story, "I'll Be Seeing You", featuring that beautiful song that was Liberace's theme song.

 

This movie is really a little off-beat with Ginger Falling in Love with a shell-shocked Soldier, Joseph Cotten, while she wrestles with her own personal tragedy.

 

 

Yes!  I've seen it a couple of times.  Very different sort of film for its time but I liked it.

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I'm appreciating everyone's comments very much. At the end of April I will make a decision on the other two and post it in this thread. Hopefully we'll continue to have more discussion during the next couple weeks.

 

Last night I did watch the title James mentioned-- GOVERNMENT GIRL starring Olivia De Havilland. Looking at other user reviews on the IMDb I realize people seem fairly divided-- they either consider GOVERNMENT GIRL a lot of fun and rate it highly, or else they find it pretty awful and rate it low. I think the film has merit but is very problematic on many levels.  

 

My primary issue with it is how the story goes in several directions. It was like Dudley Nichols couldn't decide whether it should be a screwball comedy or if it should be a patriotic endorsement of bombers. I'm uncomfortable with the main message of GOVERNMENT GIRL, but it obviously had an impact in its day because it was a big hit for RKO.

 

As for how GOVERNMENT GIRL relates to the subject of women during wartime, it's very uneven. Anne Shirley's character is rather juvenile (sort of like Anne of Green Gables getting married to a much older man then leaving Matthew and Aunt Marilla behind for Washington). Olivia's character has her moments of strength and intelligence, but she overplays it in a highly exaggerated farcical manner which seems to undercut the role and any values it might represent. I don't think women viewers would have found Olivia or Anne to be playing types they would like to emulate. The most interesting woman in the picture is Agnes Moorehead's society matron, but she doesn't have a lot of screen time.

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I've decided the four films I will review in the Essentials forum next month will be:

 

THE WAR AGAINST MRS. HADLEY (1942)

 

THE GENTLE SEX (1943)

 

TENDER COMRADE (1943)

 

GREAT DAY (1945)

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Great topic.    Just off the top of my head I would recommend Government Girl with Olivia DeHavilland.

 

Not a great film but it is about how a strong and intelligent women can assist the war effort and her country while staying in the USA.      Also,  since it is a film that was made while Olivia and Warner Bros. were having difficulties and therefore Olivia was loaned out to Selznick in return for Ingrid Bergman to be in Casablanca.

 

This is also one of the last films Anne Shirley did.    Anne looks more like Olivia than actual sister Joan, but in the film they play roommates.    

I saw Government Girl years ago and enjoyed it very much.  I agree that Ann Shirley and Olivia DeHavilland do look alike.    

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Might want to change the title to about women.

I thought it was a discussion of films that we would recommend to women for them to view.

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Might want to change the title to about women.

I thought it was a discussion of films that we would recommend to women for them to view.

 

If we say these films are about women, they could still be for men, watching stories about women. I think some of these films were not made for men at all, they were for women, as propaganda for them to know their place in the war. That's where I'm going in my upcoming reviews.

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I'm not familiar with your first two titles, topbilled, but I would say the other two are definitely war films for women.

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I'm not familiar with your first two titles, topbilled, but I would say the other two are definitely war films for women.

 

The first title, THE WAR AGAINST MRS. HADLEY, is an MGM melodrama starring Fay Bainter. It's never been released on home video (to my knowledge) but TCM plays it once or twice a year.

 

THE GENTLE SEX is an all-star British melodrama produced and narrated by Leslie Howard. It was Howard's last motion picture before his untimely death.

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A super one, told from a woman's point of view, is THE PROUD AND THE PROFANE, starring Deborah Kerr and William Holden.

 

Another terrific WW2 film that takes us "inside" the partisan fighting in Yugoslavia is: FIVE BRANDED WOMEN, starring Vera Miles and Van Heflin.

(Vera Miles wore a wig in PSYCHO, because she had just had her head shaved in a scene while making FIVE BRANDED WOMEN.)

 

British film, sort of comedic, is DAD'S ARMY, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, set in a little seaside village in England.

 

Wonderful British tv-series about survival on the home front in an English village is "Home Fires."

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