Birth of the B-29 (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #223 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

This is the Master Hands of World War II, with narration Norman Corwin would have been proud of. It tells the story of how the huge B-29 Superfortress bombers were made in huge factories staffed by workers from all walks of life. The visuals and the stirring narration work together to create a masterful piece of propaganda in that bombastic, yet lyrical style that is peculiar to the form. As is usual for war propaganda, the film starts with some frankly racist commentary about the Japanese designed to inspire hatred for the enemy. Then we get to see the B-29s being built in huge factories––this is really great factory tour footage. When the workers suddenly stop working and look to the skies to hear the "music" of the bombers going through the air, audience members' hearts probably swelled with patriotic pride. The part at the end where the narrator talks about this new, big bomber requiring a "new kind of air force" stimulates disturbing images of a future Cold War. This film is essential for collectors of World War II propaganda and is a great piece of history.

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

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