December 7

I haven’t exactly covered the waterfront, but the only notice of Pearl Harbor I’ve seen today is on Turner Classic Movies (TCM), which is running Frank Capra’s seven sequential “Why We Fight” films, made in 1942-45. Frank propaganda in the best possible cause. To modern viewers they look yawningly like hundreds of war documentaries that followed, but they were in fact the first that used what became the now-familiar standard elements: actual footage, good editing, sharp cuts, dramatic voice-over, and music to shape emotion. They knocked people out when they arrived in wartime theaters.

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