Drama · War

The Beautiful Refugees of Casablanca

Look at the people in the above photo. These are actors portraying refugees in a fashionable nightclub in French Morocco during WWII. This photo was taken in Soundstage 7-8 at Warner Bros. Studio in California. Look at how these actors are dressed. These are refugees of Means; they are not poor. If they were poor,… Continue reading The Beautiful Refugees of Casablanca


Battleground: Why an Acclaimed WWII Film Needed Van Johnson

It’s still considered one of the best war movies ever made. The WWII drama Battleground (1949), examines American solders caught in a sudden, desperate battle against the Germans in the last months of WWII. This campaign was known as the Battle of the Bulge, so called because the Allied line “bulged” as the Germans tried to push… Continue reading Battleground: Why an Acclaimed WWII Film Needed Van Johnson


Why We Need John Garfield in a Cary Grant Movie

Here’s a movie from World War II: Destination Tokyo (1943). It stars Cary Grant as an American submarine captain tasked with sneaking his vessel in and out of the enemy waters of Tokyo Bay – without getting blown up. Destination Tokyo is the supposed story of American weather “intelligence” gathering in preparation for the Doolittle Raid. According to… Continue reading Why We Need John Garfield in a Cary Grant Movie

Drama · War

Why John Wayne has to do Everything Around Here

There’s a delicious meta moment in the 1951 drama, Operation Pacific, a film that mostly takes place on a submarine during WWII. In the film, the submarine crew is watching a Cary Grant movie that is also set in a submarine. One of the crew members quips, “It’s amazing what Hollywood can do with submarines.” It’s amazing… Continue reading Why John Wayne has to do Everything Around Here

Comedy · War

Peter Sellers presents: The Cold War

In the early 1960s, filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was wrestling with a screenplay about an accidental nuclear strike. He was resisting the urge to turn it into a comedy. His screenplay was an adaptation of the 1958 novel Red Alert by Peter George, a grim story about a mentally-unstable general who orders a nuclear strike on Russia. “I… Continue reading Peter Sellers presents: The Cold War

Drama · War

To Sink a Battleship

They say it was the longest military campaign of World War II. The Battle of the Atlantic was a struggle to control shipping routes from Great Britain and North America to continental Europe. As you can imagine, protecting the transport of equipment and soldiers across the ocean was critical to the Allied war effort. The Germans… Continue reading To Sink a Battleship

Drama · War

Starring Joan Crawford, as France

You know those unpleasant times in life, such medical issues, the loss of a loved one, or a parade of rotten luck? Of course you do, and we’re guessing you went on with life anyway, determined to not let circumstances Break You. But when a minor setback occurs, such as misplacing keys or spilling a… Continue reading Starring Joan Crawford, as France

Drama · War

A Farewell to Arms and Quality Health Care

Sometimes movies are unfairly unsympathetic to people In Charge. If you’ve ever been In Charge of something, you know what we mean. You’re working on a big project with an impossible deadline, when a crucial team member announces they’ve Met Someone and are moving away. It really takes the air out of your tires. So when we watched the… Continue reading A Farewell to Arms and Quality Health Care

Drama · War

49th Parallel: Britain’s Love Letter to Canada

Perhaps we (as in, yours truly) read too much into the WWII-era drama 49th Parallel. This 1941 film serves propaganda straight up, courtesy of the British Ministry of Information. It was meant to sell a reluctant American public on joining the war in Europe. Like any good sales pitch, the film uses fear to close the sale. The plot… Continue reading 49th Parallel: Britain’s Love Letter to Canada

Drama · War

Fred MacMurray: Villain in Remission

*This post is one great big spoiler. There’s a neat villain bait-and-switch in the 1954 drama The Caine Mutiny. This film, based on the novel by Herman Wouk, is about a crew on an aging minesweeper during WWII. The script cleverly muddies the waters (ha ha) as it resets the parameters of villainy. When the tired, caustic captain… Continue reading Fred MacMurray: Villain in Remission