As the Twig Is Bent.

Made during World War II by Aetna Life & Casualty, this film encourages parents to make a special effort to look after their kids during wartime. It fairly accurately spells out the special problems the war was creating for children, such as lack of adult supervision, family upheaval, and teens dropping out of school to take jobs in war production. But, like many corporate-sponsored films, it places responsibility for these problems entirely in the lap of the individual, which seems particularly ridiculous during a worldwide war. This individual-blaming really takes the cake when the film asserts that so many of the generation who were children during World War I became criminals solely because of parental failure. Aw, c'mon––don't you think the Depression and Prohibition bootlegging had at least a little bit to do with it? The film then tells parents that it is their duty to maintain as normal a home life as possible for their children––how parents are supposed to do this when Daddy's off fighting the war, Mommy's working in a defense plant, and the family has just moved to a trailer court in a defense boomtown far from their extended family is not spelled out. A real guilt producer.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ***.

Better Reading

Better Reading . Teenager Harold Wilson has a problem—he can’t read for (expletive deleted). So he has to spend all his free time studying ...