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Free Screening! World War II Documentaries, 276 min. Join us for a Memorial Day presentation of historic WWII documentaries made by the directors profiled in the new Netflix film FIVE CAME BACK: Frank Capra, John Ford, William Wyler, George Stevens and John Huston.
Films include: “Prelude to War” (1942, 52 min. Dir. Frank Capra) The first of seven films in the “Why We Fight” series commissioned by the U.S. government rallies support for the war effort by showing the threat posed by the Axis powers. A Best Documentary Oscar winner.
Followed at 4:00 PM by: “How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines” (1943, 62 min. Dir. John Ford) This long-classified training film, made for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA), teaches best practices through a narrative about two undercover operatives. Director Ford makes a rare onscreen appearance as a secret agent’s supervisor.
Followed at 5:00 PM by: “The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress” (1944, 45 min. Dir. William Wyler) The Memphis Belle was a Boeing B-17 heavy bomber that safely completed 25 missions in Europe; this color documentary shows its crew at work on one of the last of these sorties.
Followed at 6:00 PM by: “Nazi Concentration Camps” (1945, 59 min. Dir. George Stevens) Shot by Allied military cameramen shortly after the liberation of Europe, this camp-by-camp depiction of Nazi atrocities was used as evidence in the Nuremburg trials.
Followed at 7:00 PM by: “Let There Be Light” (1946, 58 min. Dir. John Huston) Narrated by the director’s father, Walter Huston, this striking documentary follows WWII combat veterans undergoing treatment for psychological trauma. The film was suppressed for decades by the Army over concerns that it was demoralizing, but has since been named to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry for its historical significance. This program is free with RSVP. Viewers can watch all five films or pick and choose among them; see website for details.