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CaveGirl

Propaganda Films

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Before starting this discussion, let's go back to the source and without any deconstructionist tendencies deal with the official definition of what "propaganda" is:

"prop·a·gan·da

noun
1. derogatory information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
"he was charged with distributing enemy propaganda"
synonyms: informationpromotionadvertisingpublicityspin"
 

Now admittedly, one man's meat is another man's propaganda so this still might be difficult to ascertain, but hopefully we are talking about blatant themes based on biased or not proven information, meant to influence the viewers.

It may be that in Nazi Germany, Hollywood films which they mostly banned were looked on as the propaganda, which is why they were supplanted by Nazi films that possibly excoriated Western values in content.

I possibly own a few films which might fit the bill, like Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" from the 1930's. One of the most famous propaganda films is possibly "Jud Suss" from 1940 which I have no idea if it is available for viewing even now.

Some might say a film which is politically charged or there to present a specific view of the state of things, like the Polish film, "Ashes and Diamonds" by Wajda but I'm not sure it qualifies.

Though TOTW is indubitably a propaganda film, it also is a film with much to admire that separates it from the propaganda. Kind of like admiring the construction of a guillotine but not its mission to behead. Name films which are propaganda but still films worth viewing and ones which are only propaganda in essence.

I am impervious to propaganda of any kind, therefore would be willing to watch any and all films of purported propaganda with no fear of coming under their influence.

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23 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:
   
I possibly own a few films which might fit the bill, like Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" from the 1930's.

Which is why Riefenstahl's name was mentioned at the Oscar's, and also why she was booed.

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I am impervious to propaganda of any kind, therefore would be willing to watch any and all films of purported propaganda with no fear of coming under their influence.

As am I

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Name films which are propaganda but still films worth viewing and ones which are only propaganda in essence.

Pittsburgh (1942) comes to mind. Star studded but, a bit predictable. It pushed the message that in war time, being focused on success = bad. Joining the team as friends = good.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks, GGG! I don't think I've ever seen this film "Pittsburgh" but it has a good cast with Paul Fix and Nestor so I will look for it. Glad to see there are fellow non-travellers with the crowd!

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49th Parallel.

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My favorite "propaganda" film of all time is...

life+and+death+of+colonel+blimp+title.jp

(...suck it Winston...you just never "got it", did ya, you tubby little superfluous-u user, you?!...it's a GREAT film, and DID serve your cause well!)

 

 

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"The North Star" AKA "Armored Attack" shows Soviet youth as happy peasants under the watch of that grandfather like figure Stalin until those nasty Nazis come along and ruin their workers' paradise.

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We should point out that television movies and television series also have propaganda in them.

I watched an episode of The Jeffersons on Starz last night that I gave a 10 rating on the IMDb. It was very propagandistic, but worked beautifully.

George and Tom (Sherman Hemsley and Franklin Cover) want to attend a meeting in their apartment building that Tom heard about after a series of burglaries. Supposedly a group of men want to get rid of undesirables in the building they feel are behind the increase in crime. George is running late to the meeting so neighbor Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict) goes with Tom, and George will show up later.

The guys don't realize this meeting is attended by all white men, and this group is a chapter of the K*K*K. Where the undesirables the other men want to get rid of are black tenants. The group members don't know Tom has a black wife, but when George shows up they realize Tom is an N-lover. The N-word was used once and referred to several times.

This was a seventh season episode produced in 1981. It's called "Sorry, Wrong Meeting" and was scripted by two white sitcom writers (Peter Casey & David Lee). I thought the whole thing was brilliantly executed, even if it was didactic; they kept the liberal rhetoric to a minimum. There's no happy ending in the episode, which I think was also a smart move, because the racial prejudices of the world cannot be solved within a typical sitcom format. It was funny, sad, topical and realistic.

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 6.48.09 AM.jpg

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The Fall of Berlin

Classic Soviet film about a couple who get separated during WWII.

 

 

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Like CG, I've learned to treat any portrayal of facts, or history with a degree of skepticism, unless I find it supported by sufficient corroborating evidence from multiple alternate sources. It's really quite educational to view propaganda, to see the techniques employed to bring the audience to the cause being promoted & as documents of the times.

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My Son John. A laugh a minute anti-commie flick. Okay, maybe a laugh

every three minutes. I love it.

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While not a good movie--by any remote stretch of the imagination  😓 --Roger Ebert, in his Siskel & Ebert review of Sally Field's post-Reagan Iran melodrama Not Without My Daughter (1991), recommended it be studied for the mechanics of how the specific tropes and manipulations of political propaganda are assembled even in peacetime.

Innocent motherhood in jeopardy has been the big player since the days of Wm. Hearst and the Spanish-American War, the idea that your friends, neighbors, or (gasp!) trusted spouse might secretly turn out to be one of THEM, and, of course, never ever translating the foreign enemy firsthand, lest they look less alien.

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It still is the big player; look at the recent moral panic about female trafficking, which is really no different than the "white slavery" movies of a hundred years ago.

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Without providing any titles, it may be safe to say most of what TCM will show during  Memorial Day weekend can be considered propaganda films. 

At least in some views.

@TopBilled:

As far as TV shows, it's also safe to say that the typical NORMAN LEAR television production was propaganda (as per your view).  ALL IN THE FAMILY, MAUDE, The JEFFERSONS and his other shows forwarded the attitudes of anti racism, anti sexism, anti ageism, anti classism, and any other social views aimed at derogatory views and treatment of people in specific social and ethnic situations.   And that ARCHIE BUNKER was NOT a white bigot, but rather a PERSONALITY TYPE, as it took several years( and still many never realized) for people to notice the only REAL difference between Bunker, George Jefferson and Fred Sanford was only "skin deep".  ;)  

Sepiatone

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Reminded by some discussion in another thread, I had to come back and point out that THE GRAPES OF WRATH is a blatant propaganda film, trying to RAM the radical viewpoint that ALL people deserve to be paid a fair day's wages for a fair day's work, and that folks from ALL walks of life deserve to be treated with DIGNITY, and THAT should take precedence before the worship of the almighty dollar, and the "insane" notion that exploiting desperate people for PROFIT is WRONG down our throats.  Why, our PRESIDENT wouldn't be the MAN HE IS  today  if he ever believed in that nonsense!  ;) 

PHSHAW!  JOHN STEINBECK.  That "Dirty, rotten writer commie rat!"  ;)

Sepiatone

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5 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Reminded by some discussion in another thread, I had to come back and point out that THE GRAPES OF WRATH is a blatant propaganda film, trying to RAM the radical viewpoint that ALL people deserve to be paid a fair day's wages for a fair day's work, and that folks from ALL walks of life deserve to be treated with DIGNITY, and THAT should take precedence before the worship of the almighty dollar, and the "insane" notion that exploiting desperate people for PROFIT is WRONG down our throats.  Why, our PRESIDENT wouldn't be the MAN HE IS  today  if he ever believed in that nonsense!  ;) 

PHSHAW!  JOHN STEINBECK.  That "Dirty, rotten writer commie rat!"  ;)

Sepiatone

That deserves a react_haha.pngand a react_sad.png!

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7 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Without providing any titles, it may be safe to say most of what TCM will show during  Memorial Day weekend can be considered propaganda films. 

At least in some views.

@TopBilled:

As far as TV shows, it's also safe to say that the typical NORMAN LEAR television production was propaganda (as per your view).  ALL IN THE FAMILY, MAUDE, The JEFFERSONS and his other shows forwarded the attitudes of anti racism, anti sexism, anti ageism, anti classism, and any other social views aimed at derogatory views and treatment of people in specific social and ethnic situations.   And that ARCHIE BUNKER was NOT a white bigot, but rather a PERSONALITY TYPE, as it took several years( and still many never realized) for people to notice the only REAL difference between Bunker, George Jefferson and Fred Sanford was only "skin deep".  ;)  

Sepiatone

Thanks. You said it all perfectly.

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Some films which have elements of propaganda outlive their original propaganda purposes and remain very successful films. A Canterbury Tale, Mrs. Miniver, and Went the Day Well? come to mind. The North Star (and Mission to Moscow and Days of Glory), on the other hand, are historical relics which both disgust through their mendaciousness and delight as absurdly camp.

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6 minutes ago, kingrat said:

 The North Star (and Mission to Moscow and Days of Glory), on the other hand, are historical relics which both disgust through their mendaciousness and delight as absurdly camp.

Though not political, even a film like Reefer Madness (1936) can qualify on this note. It was meant to be so serious when it was produced. Then as time went on, became a cult classic I'm sure many would view while partaking in the very herb  🌿 the film was warning about. And now with laws changing, its achieves a whole new significance as a time capsule from a time long since passed. 

Ten Nights in a Barroom (1926) was the same for drinking 🍷. Looked at more for the time is was produced and the show itself rather than the message.

 

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13 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

Though not political, even a film like Reefer Madness (1936) can qualify on this note. It was meant to be so serious when it was produced. Then as time went on, became a cult classic I'm sure many would view while partaking in the very herb  🌿 the film was warning about. And now with laws changing, its achieves a whole new significance as a time capsule from a time long since passed. 

It also emphasizes the desperation and utter childishness of a faction that stakes their very identity and unity on digging up straw-men from eighty-two years ago as sole "clinching" argument against the opposition...Yes, folks, remember, unreasonable one-sided propaganda is a bad thing!  😛

Rather like if I were to protest the persecution of the automobile by showing films of the Keystone Kops.

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On 5/17/2018 at 1:52 AM, Dargo said:

My favorite "propaganda" film of all time is...

life+and+death+of+colonel+blimp+title.jp

(...suck it Winston...you just never "got it", did ya, you tubby little superfluous-u user, you?!...it's a GREAT film, and DID serve your cause well!)

 

 

Good pick, Dargo and I bought that during my Powell and Pressburger obsession days. It also has Anton Walbrook in it, which means it is essential viewing.

Enjoy the use of "u" in the nicer words for "blimp" like avoir du pois.

Maybe if Powell had only called "Peeping Tom" as a film, something like "The Life of Colonel Tom Peeper" it wouldn't have ended his career.

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On 5/17/2018 at 8:54 AM, calvinnme said:

"The North Star" AKA "Armored Attack" shows Soviet youth as happy peasants under the watch of that grandfather like figure Stalin until those nasty Nazis come along and ruin their workers' paradise.

And you are saying this is "propaganda", Calvin?

Just kidding, of course it is. Just like the people in "Green Pastures".

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On 5/17/2018 at 9:43 AM, TopBilled said:

We should point out that television movies and television series also have propaganda in them.

I watched an episode of The Jeffersons on Starz last night that I gave a 10 rating on the IMDb. It was very propagandistic, but worked beautifully.

George and Tom (Sherman Hemsley and Franklin Cover) want to attend a meeting in their apartment building that Tom heard about after a series of burglaries. Supposedly a group of men want to get rid of undesirables in the building they feel are behind the increase in crime. George is running late to the meeting so neighbor Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict) goes with Tom, and George will show up later.

The guys don't realize this meeting is attended by all white men, and this group is a chapter of the K*K*K. Where the undesirables the other men want to get rid of are black tenants. The group members don't know Tom has a black wife, but when George shows up they realize Tom is an N-lover. The N-word was used once and referred to several times.

This was a seventh season episode produced in 1981. It's called "Sorry, Wrong Meeting" and was scripted by two white sitcom writers (Peter Casey & David Lee). I thought the whole thing was brilliantly executed, even if it was didactic; they kept the liberal rhetoric to a minimum. There's no happy ending in the episode, which I think was also a smart move, because the racial prejudices of the world cannot be solved within a typical sitcom format. It was funny, sad, topical and realistic.

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 6.48.09 AM.jpg

Any review with the term "didactic" in it, is one to be reckoned with, TB!

Your write-up of this episode, though of a comedic nature tackling a serious subject reminds me a bit of the tv movie, called "The Guardian" from the 1980's with Martin Sheen and Lou Gossett, Jr. Only saw it once but it stuck with me. I wish I'd seen this Jefferson's episode and will look for it. Thanks!

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