IMDb > Prelude to War (1942)
Prelude to War
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Prelude to War (1942) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   675 votes »
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Release Date:
27 May 1942 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Your boy wants you to see it!
Plot:
The official World War II US Government film statement defining the various enemies of the Allies and why they must be fought. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 3 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Well-done and educational propaganda See more (15 total) »

Cast

 
Kai-Shek Chiang ... Himself (archive footage) (as General Chaing Kai-Shek)
Walter Darré ... Himself (archive footage) (as Darré)
Otto Dietrich ... Himself (archive footage) (as Dietrich)
Hans Frank ... Himself (archive footage) (as Frank)
Joseph Goebbels ... Himself (archive footage) (as Doctor Goebbels)
Hermann Göring ... Himself (archive footage) (as Goring)
Rudolf Hess ... Himself (archive footage) (as Hess)

Adolf Hitler ... Himself (archive footage) (as Hitler)
Saburo Kurusu ... Himself (archive footage) (as Kurusu)
Robert Ley ... Himself (archive footage) (as Ley)
Lord Lytton ... Himself (archive footage)
Yosuke Matsuoka ... Himself (archive footage)
Frank McCoy ... Himself (archive footage)
Benito Mussolini ... Himself (archive footage)
Henry Pu-yi ... Himself (archive footage)
Fritz Reinhardt ... Himself (archive footage) (as Reinhardt)
Alfred Rosenberg ... Himself (archive footage) (as Doctor Alfred Rosenberg)
Haile Selassie ... Himself (archive footage) (as Emperor Haile Selassie)
Henry L. Stimson ... Himself (archive footage)
Julius Streicher ... Himself (archive footage)
Fritz Todt ... Himself (archive footage) (as Todt)
Isoroku Yamamoto ... Himself (archive footage) (as Admiral Yamamoto)
Robert J. Anderson ... Boy Donating Money for Japanese Children (uncredited)
Pietro Badoglio ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Aristide Briand ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Galeazzo Ciano ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Heinrich Himmler ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Hirohito ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Herbert Hoover ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Walter Huston ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Frank B. Kellogg ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Pierre Laval ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Erich Ludendorff ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Franklin D. Roosevelt ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Max Schmeling ... German Paratrooper (archive footage) (uncredited)
Mamoru Shigemitsu ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Paul von Hindenburg ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
August von Mackensen ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Joachim von Ribbentrop ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Wendell Willkie ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited) (unconfirmed)

Directed by
Frank Capra (uncredited)
Anatole Litvak (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Julius J. Epstein  uncredited
Philip G. Epstein  uncredited
Robert Heller  uncredited
Williband Hentschel  article (uncredited)
Adolf Hitler  book "Mein Kampf" (uncredited)
Eric Knight  uncredited
Anthony Veiller  uncredited

Produced by
Frank Capra .... producer (uncredited)
Anatole Litvak .... associate producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Hugo Friedhofer (uncredited)
Leigh Harline (uncredited)
Arthur Lange (uncredited)
Cyril J. Mockridge (uncredited)
Alfred Newman (uncredited)
David Raksin (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Robert J. Flaherty (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
William Hornbeck (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Michael R. McAdam .... assistant film editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Charles Bradshaw .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Maurice De Packh .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Arthur Morton .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Alfred Newman .... musical director (uncredited)
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Conrad Salinger .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Herbert W. Spencer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Jack Virgil .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Why We Fight, 1" - USA (series title)
See more »
Runtime:
52 min (copyright length)
Country:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
This documentary is considered a Second World War wartime propaganda documentary film of the United States.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
America the BeautifulSee more »

FAQ

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
Well-done and educational propaganda, 10 July 2006
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City

Prelude to War is the first in a series of well-made propaganda films that were co-directed by Frank Capra during World War II with the intention of educating new U.S. soldiers about the war while inspiring them to fight for "what's right". Watching them at this point in time, they are fascinating as a glimpse into more or less official propagandistic stances. Of course it's to be expected that the films go to pains to dehumanize, even demonize, then enemy cultures. Because this specific material is so far removed from our current stances and concerns, it's instructive to watch and especially to show it to students, because it's much easier to see through the propaganda tactics, enabling similar tactics to more easily be identified in modern politics.

But perhaps surprisingly, Prelude to War and the other films in the series also contain a good deal of accurate factual information, so that unless you're a World War II buff, you can learn quite a bit about how the war progressed and at least one side of why it progressed (one of many necessary sides)--if you watch the series with a critical eye.

The series also contains a lot of intriguing historical footage--including films of Axis military campaigns in execution, and some of the more typical newsreel-type shots of the three Axis leaders--Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito, their right-hand men and their military and civilian support systems. Just as notable now is footage of various aspects of American life that would have passed by without much thought in 1943--such as cars traveling on relatively sparse, newly built U.S. highway interchanges. You can gain as much from Prelude to War by simply watching the images and keeping in mind the historical context as you can by listening to the narration.

There are a couple rough spots--a montage of Axis armies marching like huge, well-oiled machines probably goes on too long 60-something years later, but surely the aim was to put just a bit of fear as well as an increased fervor to conquer into the new U.S. military recruits.

This film isn't crucial viewing for everyone, but for those who study history, politics, sociology, the military and especially World War II, it is essential.

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