The opening scenes focus on landmark films such as The Grapes of Wrath, Citizen Kane, The Great Dictator, and Casablanca. Gore Vidal and others comment on the lasting influence of Orson Welles and Kane. They also offer fascinating stories behind the making of Welles' classic, to include the origin of "Rosebud" and a memo from William Randolph Hearst "encouraging" one of his newspapers to offer a kindly review of Buster Keaton's The Cameraman.
|Wasserman kept a phone at the|
family dinner table--to talk with
clients whenever they called.
Due to the constraints of its one-hour running time, the episode only touches briefly on the emergence of films with strong female characters, the treatment of minorities in the 1940s (e.g., Home of the Brave), the McCarthy hearings, and the birth of film noir. The latter is especially disappointing given the later influence of noir classics such as Laura and Out of Past.
A more serious omission is the migration of great foreign filmmakers from war-torn Europe to Hollywood. Fritz Lang made classic 1940s fare such as Scarlet Street, while Jean Renoir (The Southerner), Julien Duvivier (Flesh and Fantasy) and other foreign filmmakers made memorable Hollywood contributions.
Such criticism is minor, given the goal of covering a historically-packed decade in sixty minutes. Viewers unfamiliar with Hollywood in the 1940s will gain some valuable insight from Warriors and Peacemakers. More serious film buffs will enjoy the film clips, newsreel footage, and commentary on many of their favorite movies.
YouCast Corporation provided a screening copy of this episode to the Classic Film & TV Cafe.