Popular Movies of Wartime in the 1940s

Movies were an important distraction from the worries of war time … here are a few popular ones:-

“The Grapes of Wrath” starring Henry Fonda and the Oscar winning performance of Jane Darwell…. “We keep a comin’. We’re the people that live. Can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever… because we’re the people.”

“Forty Thousand Horsemen” was an Australian film with a tale of the Australian Light Horse in WWI. It starred Betty Bryant, Chips Rafferty and Grant Taylor. Betty Bryant visited the 2/20 in Malaya in June 1941.

Charlie Chaplin’s first all talking film was “The Great Dictator”, a comic indictment of Fascism.

“Citizen Kane” starring Orson Welles who won an Oscar for his performance.

“The Maltese Falcon” starred Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in this 1941 film.

“You were never lovelier” saw Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth dance on the roof tops in this Jerome Kern film of 1942.

“A March of Time” short called “Show Business at War” starred Marlene Dietrich

“Henry V” starred Laurence Olivier and the morale boosting story was partly funded by the British Government.

“Catherine the Great” was a play in New York in 1944 starring Mae West who informed the audience on her first night curtain speech that “Catherine had 300 lovers in her life. I did the best I could in two hours.”

“The Big Sleep” starred Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Money spent on public entertainment more than doubled during the war… so important to boost morale.

Film stars Clark Gable joined the US Army air force as a Gunnery Instructor and James Stewart was a Major who was decorated for heroic combat action in flying raids over Germany.

Check the movies out on Wikipedia, some are bound to still be available.

Reference: James Lescott, “The Forties in Pictures”,  Parragon, Bath UK, 2007.

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