In this installment of the "Why We Fight" propaganda film series, we have the account of Great Britain's last stand against the forces of Nazi Germany.
This mainly focuses on the desperate, but successful, battle to maintain their vital air superiority over the British Isles and the morale of the people to prevent invasion.
Running Time: 54 Minutes MPAA Ratings: Passed
The strongest instalment in Capra's propaganda series, The Battle Of Britain strikes an artful balance between dwelling upon the paucity of British supplies and celebrating the wealth of British morale - that is, between stressing the unlikelihood and likelihood of British victory. In doing so, it defines democratic participation as more inclined to victory than fascist obedience, thereby encouraging an end to US isolationism: "For something had happened here that the Germans could never understand..." To this end, Capra and editor William Hornbeck craft a stunning narrative out of found footage and dramatic recreations, paying particular attention to the "twenty-eight days of terror", the Coventry Blitz, and the Second Great Fire of London. In this way, the horror and significance of the Blitz ultimately finds expression as a series of shocking, pregnant images, rather than in terms of the slightly florid script ("Six weeks to determine the history of a thousand years"), or Disney- animated sequences;that is, at the level of montage, as evinced in the use of fire to evoke both horror and heroism, depending on whether it relates to German or British air strikes.
The series "Why We Fight" was made so that the soldiers who were fighting knew the history behind the war, and who their enemies were. That being the case, it is also a great source for students who are just learning about World War II. This particular short talks about how brave and steadfast Britain was while being attacked by the Germans. With maps and footage taken from the enemy, plus shots showing the famous English 'stiff upper lip,' you find out just how outnumbered England was, and yet still they prevailed! A very good film, especially if you follow it with a showing of "Mrs. Miniver."
Jamison, Tulsa, OK
Julius J. Epstein
Philip G. Epstein
AWARDS: National Film Registry
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