Brazil Gets the News (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #243 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

Ho-hum, another boring film about Brazil…wait a minute. This film is full of gentle surprises, mostly from the narrator, who narrates in a breezy, sly style, throwing in little jokes when you least suspect them, and generally not taking the proceedings too seriously. The film is about newspaper production in Sao Paulo (‘the Detroit of Brazil,” the opening title card tells us, “or is Detroit really the Sao Paulo of the United States?”) and it is actually one of the clearest and best-made factory tours I’ve ever seen. This really gives you a good idea of what newspaper publishing was like back in the 40s, and it probably was pretty much the same in the U.S., since the film tells us that several times. The propaganda point was that free countries have a free press, unlike some Axis countries we could name. And also probably to build up good will for our Brazilian allies. But it’s the narration that really makes this one––that guy sounded like he was having way too much fun with this project.

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

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