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Latest Member: LoriMatney Forum  |  Movies  |  Press Releases and Film News  |  on TCM Wednesday "Inflation" (1943) WW2 Propaganda film. « previous next »
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Author Topic: on TCM Wednesday "Inflation" (1943) WW2 Propaganda film.  (Read 3218 times)
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« on: January 01, 2012, 11:13:06 AM »

This should be interesting
Brief Synopsis
Propaganda short from 1943 depicting the devil conspiring with Adolph Hitler by phone to economically sabatage the US. He tries to prey on people's fear and greed, to get them to hoard food, sell war bonds for quick cash, buy scarce items on the black market and beat the government rationing and price ceilings.

more in depth piece
"One is his very first film, Inflation — a 15-minute wartime propaganda short made at the request of the Office of War Information and copyrighted by MGM in 1943 but never released ...just before the prints were ready to be shipped, Nicholas M. Schenck — the president of Loew’s, Inc., MGM’s parent company — sent a cable to producer Buddy Adler saying that the national Chamber of Commerce had requested that the short be suppressed. No reason was given, but MGM was clearly not interested in defying the Chamber of Commerce and quickly complied. Over the next half century the film was publicly screened only once, at Telluride last summer."
" Clearly there’s nothing subtle about Inflation, nor was there meant to be. The Chamber of Commerce was undoubtedly perturbed by this punchy expressionist short because Endfield carried out his assigned task — attacking various forms of capitalist greed and selfishness leading to inflation — all too well. It seems relevant that the Devil and a couple of wholesome housewives are both glimpsed at unsettling low angles — the Devil from beneath the surface of his glass desk, the housewives almost from knee level, chatting on a suburban doorstep — and it’s difficult to decide which of these two angles seems more sinister. At the age of 27, Endfield already displayed his singular flair for portraying brutish self-interest in a wholly believable and lucid (if sardonic) manner.

The capitalist selfishness the Devil gleefully encourages begins with the buying binge of factory worker Joe Smith (Horace McNally), who goes with his wife (Esther Williams) on a shopping spree as soon as he collects his paycheck. “You look wonderful,” he says late in the trip when she tries on a fur wrap, to which she replies, “Gee, honey, it took four dresses and a new coat for you to say so.” When the clerk suggests that Joe can buy even more for his wife and himself on credit, there’s a cut to the Devil on the phone beaming, “Well, it’s started, Adolf — a blitz without bullets,” and explaining that with few goods around, price bidding is bound to start soon. Laden with packages, Joe and his wife wind up listening to FDR on a radio in a shop speaking at length about all that should be done: “stabilize prices . . . ration scarce commodities . . . invest in war bonds . . . discourage installment buying,” and so on.

“Look at me — Joe Sap!” a chastened Joe declares at the end of this speech, and his wife agrees that they’ve been “overdoing it.” But all the other citizens in this short remain, more plausibly, unenlightened, whether it’s a chorus girl buying nylons on the black market, a tailor being taught by the Devil how to switch labels on a garment and thereby cheat on price fixing, housewives expounding on the virtues of hoarding and stockpiling, or a fellow in a restaurant being convinced by the Devil to cash in his war bonds and buy an expensive car to improve his image.

“Would you like to join us?” the Devil asks the camera at the end, extolling the virtues of racial superiority before he urges us to buy, “squawk,” be greedy, hoard, etc. “Do these things and oblige my friend” — he points to the phone receiver, affectionately adding “Sieg heil!” — “and your most humble servant.” He cackles some more, and the lightning bolts return, welcoming us all to the impending apocalypse.

I remember reading a review of this in Psychotronic. The writer noted correctly that post 9/11 we were (and are still) given very much the opposite message.

« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 07:49:45 PM by lester1/2jr » Logged

major jay
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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Posts: 1133

« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 03:01:37 PM »

Thanks for the tip, Lester. Thumbup
The dvr is set.
TCM has been playing some awesome stuff lately.
On the 20th they're playing THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN, and here's their line-up for the 22nd.

8:00 PM
 Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)61 min
A mad doctor tries to mix human and gorilla blood with deadly results.

9:15 PM
Black Cat, The (1934) 
65 min
TV-PG horror Black Cat, The (1934)
A Satanist faces off with the vengeful man whose wife and daughter he has stolen.

10:30 PM
Island of Lost Souls (1933)

Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

Karma: 852
Posts: 9766

« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 06:18:24 PM »

I saw Island of Lost SOuls a while ago. I've never been all that intrigued by the Dr. Moreau concept but it was certainly very very well done.

I've been getting into the weird shorts on TCM lately. I saw one called "Donkey baseball" the other day that was pretty ridiculous.

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