Technicolor tour of war-torn Philippines.
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David Griffin ...
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Technicolor tour of war-torn Philippines.

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travelogue | See All (1) »

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Documentary | Short

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18 August 1945 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)
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A Technicolor Special (2-reel), Vitaphone #1389A See more »

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From Time Magazine, August 20, 1945
12 April 2011 | by (Carlsbad CA) – See all my reviews

The name of the short documentary is "Orders from Tokyo" which are the first words of the article being described. I place this on IMDb because there is no review or description of this film. Yet, the film, and this review from sixty six years ago, describe just one example of the horror of that war, and the unalloyed hatred that can infect people.

It is the challenge of humanity to understand how such things occur, what forces transform empathetic human beings into agents of murderous hate, whether it be the Imperial Japanese, the Germans in the Nazi era, or Americans who were equally brutal against indigenous peoples or others who got in our way in our own imperialistic ventures.

To ignore such dark history is to risk repeating it.

The article follows:

"Orders from Tokyo" (Film Credits: Philippine Commonwealth-OSS,Warner) were found on Japanese soldiers who died in Manila's walled city. They were detailed instructions from from Imperial Headquarters for "the systematic massacre" of the city's civilians, children and women as well as men. This short color film, the work of Marine Captain David C. Griffin, is the record of the execution of these orders.

The picture is introduced by Brigadier General Carlos P. Romulo, Resident Commissioner of the Philippines. He is aware of the immense distance of, both physical and spiritual,which separates U.S. civilians from such horrors, has said: "These things are not to be known, they must be felt. Color adds its own gruesome assurance that the horrors will be felt." Captain Griffin's record shows the 80% destruction of the "the greatest Christian city in the Orient." It shows, still more dreadfully, the destruction wrought upon the mild, brave people who lived in it: children who were shot down as they prayed; gnarled stacks of bodies burned alive; people who were killed with their hands tied behind them; a bayoneted mother and child at the feet of the Virgin.

It shows among the living, bayonet wounds and the agonized collapse of a woman who has been raped and in the faces of those physically untouched, wounds of the soul no less hideous to see. It shows the starved American prisoners and the American dead, and,in the immediate aftermath of combat, the uncontrollable tic in the face of one of the liberators.

This film will be part of the evidence when Japan's war criminals are brought to trial. Meanwhile it serves as forcefully as anything could to make the enemy and his work an intimate matter to U.S. civilians.


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