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Souvenirs of Death (1948)

Approved | | Short | 19 June 1948 (USA)
The story of a gun, and how it made its way from a battlefield in Germany during WW2 to the American underworld.


(as Edward Cahn)


(screenplay), (original story)


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Cast overview:
John Nesbitt ...
Narrator / Voice of Gun (voice)


As seen through the indifferent eyes of a callous Mauser pistol, the story line tracks its chain of custody after being picked up on a French battlefield by an American GI near the body of its dead owner, a German soldier. Although he takes precautions for its safe display, the GI's young son is able to access it and show it to friends, one of whom ends up killing the family dog. Although the father disables it, the boy's mother insists it be disposed of, so he sends it to his brother for use as a souvenir paperweight. It is lost in a poker game, hocked, and bought by a gunsmith who restores its firepower. Ultimately it reaches its seventh and last owner, a gangster who uses it to rob a casino and murder a policeman. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mauser | gun | gunsmith | gangster | casino | See All (42) »








Release Date:

19 June 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Passing Parade No. 66: Souvenirs of Death  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The plot conceit of following a gun through multiple owners would be co-opted two years later for the feature _Winchester '73 (1950)_. See more »


Narrator: As a war trophy, my story began in 1944 on a battlefield in northern France. The victorious Allies were marching through now, and my first owner, Herr Lt. Von Bider was facedown in the mud, a matter of complete indifference to me since my sole function is to puncture the human body. It appeared I was to have a new owner.
See more »


Follows Stairway to Light (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

Guns do kill people and other forms of life
19 February 2016 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The title Souvenirs Of Death refers to a German Luger pistol which with the voice of John Nesbitt in this Passing Parade short narrates its life since it left the cold dead hands of a German officer on the field of battle in Europe. Two war souvenirs were extremely popular post World War II among GIs returning home, Japanese Samurai swords and Luger pistols from the Germans.

If the man who took the pistol off the dead German had really wanted to make the weapon safe then it seems that one would remove a firing pin. His young son finds the weapon, finds the ammunition for same (why in the world would you keep that) and the first tragedy of that weapon in civilian life occurs.

Nesbitt narrates how the weapon passes through several owners and even goes across country before it ends up in a final resting place so to speak. We even get J. Edgar Hoover warning about how these souvenirs are becoming popular in the underworld.

I can tell you the National Rifle Association will not approve of this short subject.

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