Book Report: Hollywood Victory
Today, Veterans Day, we reflect on all who served in the United States Armed Forces in times of war and in times of peace. It’s a day to reflect on service and sacrifice for the greater good. One might not immediately think of a Hollywood story on this day, but a new release from the Turner Classic Movies Library is worth noting, especially today. Hollywood Victory: The Movies, Stars, and Stories of World War II tells the story of Hollywood’s involvement in World War II, as it’s never before been told. This is a book for both film and history buffs, beautifully told.
Author Christian Blauvelt divides the book into five parts: Storm Clouds (1933-1941), Day of Infamy and Aftermath (1941-1942), Turning Points (1942-1943), The New Normal (1943-1944, and A New World, a New Hollywood (1944-). In each section he tracks the progression of the war years from the United States’ initial isolationism to the attack on Pearl Harbor to the country’s full involvement in World War II. Throughout the years, the film industry, with the encouragement and investment of the government, enlisted in the war effort.
Eventually, all of Hollywood engaged in producing movies to remind the American public just what their soldiers were fighting for abroad. Famous filmmakers produced training films for the military and studios even found themselves providing housing for soldiers stationed in California. Stars engaged in entertaining the troops, selling war bonds, and creating havens for soldiers like the Hollywood Canteen. Some of Hollywood’s most famous leading men enlisted in the Armed Forces, serving with distinction. Within the pages of Hollywood Victory are hidden heroes of the war effort and stories that deserve to be remembered.
World War II called a country, a world to action, and Hollywood heeded the call. This is the story of a century and of the risks taken by all involved to defeat a common enemy and restore the world to peace. It’s the kind of story perfect for a Hollywood movie. Only this was a real Hollywood story and a Hollywood victory.