A woman is kidnapped. While in captivity, she manages to send a message out with a wandering cat. The cat's owner calls the FBI. The FBI tries to follow the cat. Jealous boyfriends and nosy... See full summary »
This is a unique film in Disney Production's history. This film is essentially a propaganda film selling Major Alexander de Seversky's theories about the practical uses of long range strategic bombing. Using a combination of animation humorously telling about the development of air warfare, the film switches to the Major illustrating his ideas could win the war for the allies. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
After its initial release and re-release in 1943-44, the film was never publicly released or screened in the United States again for 60 years. Only the opening fragment of the "History of Flight" was shown on Disney specials. This changed in May 2004, when Disney released a fully re-mastered and uncut version of "Victory Through Air Power" on the Disney Masterpieces "On the Front Lines" DVD set. See more »
The film claims the German's used air power to break through the Maginot line to conquer France. In reality, the German forces avoided directly engaging the Line and instead completely circumvented it. See more »
Today, a war is very different than the last European war was. Now air power is the dominant feature of military operations. Air power can fly directly to the vital centers of an opposing state and neutralize them. It can destroy the cities, it can wreck the aqueducts, it can knock out the lines of communication, it can destroy the food supplies, and make the people helpless to resist.
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Part animated look at the history of flight and part lecture on the importance of developing long-range aeroplanes to help win the war, Victory Through Air Power is a very strange propaganda piece from Walt Disney. However, it was also quite a prescient and important one and deserves to be seen by anyone interested in the history of the studio or historically interested in acts of war.
Based on the book by Alexander de Seversky, the film does have a few animated sequences (and quickly illustrates numerous ideas and potential scenarios) but it's predominantly an interesting talk given by the author of the book on his theories and how the rules of the battlefield have been changing since the development of flying machines. Looking at strategies and the lessons from history, it's hard to argue with a lot of what he says.
As is usually the case, a number of writers and directors worked together to create the final product. As you would expect, it's not half as entertaining as many of the other Disney outings from the 1940s but it makes up for that with such a high curiosity factor that it remains enjoyable from start to finish (about 70 minutes max).
RKO may have refused to carry the movie, seeing no profit in it, but we can be glad that Disney then went to United Artists to get the film a theatrical release. It was never going to be a moneymaker but it certainly seems to have impressed important people of the time, most notably Winston Churchill who then urged Franklin D. Roosevelt to watch the film, which led to Roosevelt finally committing to a full air campaign against Germany.
Which means that maybe, just maybe, this oft-overlooked Disney film helped the right people to win WWII. No mean feat.
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