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War Time Essay

  • Submitted by: alicegurl44
  • on June 3, 2014
  • Category: History
  • Length: 1,414 words

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Below is an essay on "War Time" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Few national cinemas have confronted the issue of preparedness for war with the creative vigor of England’s. Thorold Dickinson’s The Next of Kin (1942), Alberto Cavalcanti’s Went the Day Well? (1942, from a story by Graham Greene), and, of course, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s wartime output are distinctive for the ingeniousness with which they fuse the English character itself with the know-how, cunning, and courage required to defend against the impending threat of a vicious enemy. The spiritual fortitude so beautifully portrayed in these films, reduced to its essence by Powell in his remarkable five-minute short An Airman’s Letter to His Mother (1941), is moving today in a way that many analogous American films of the period no longer are. The English films’ robust response to the challenge of creating propaganda is moving in and of itself—collectively, they offer a complex portrait of a people whose foibles, shortcomings, and nearsightedness finally underscore an essential nobility.

Stuart Cooper’s unjustly forgotten and now happily resurrected 1975 Overlord seems to me to be directly linked to those earlier films, despite the fact that it was made for vastly different reasons and under wholly distinct circumstances. It’s as if the stoic/pragmatic spirit of that earlier time, also to be found in English literature (think of Ford Madox Ford’s World War I–era Parade’s End), had survived the transposition to modern cinema, specifically the strain initiated by Alain Resnais with the somber uncertainties and temporal splintering of Hiroshima mon amour (1959). Overlord, with its continual refrain of a soldier’s vision of his own probable annihilation, its ominous flash-forwards, and its striking mix of fiction and documentary, certainly has its place among the great death-driven modernist narratives of its era (Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 Don’t Look Now and Sam Peckinpah’s films come immediately to mind), and it has a clear kinship with Kevin Brownlow’s...

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