The Big Blockade (1942) Poster

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7/10
Wizard Prang
Spondonman13 April 2008
All media propaganda appears shallow in hindsight, and more especially to todays enlightened cynical generations. Todays propaganda usually has to be far more subtle and careful than that of WW2 to get the government line out, but ultimately it's the same: America good, China bad etc. My line is: every country good, every country bad.

This episodic film starts with T for Tommy (keen as mustard Michael Rennie and nonchalant John Mills) flying out to night bomb Hanover, later doing it and returning. In between there's lots of various naval action and detailed earnest explanation of the how and why of the British economic blockade of Nazi Germany. We're repeatedly shown how useless and demoralised the Germans were getting under War conditions, when the Blockade was taking effect and even their ersatz products were failing them. Sadly though Hitler hung on for another savage 5 years. Lots of big and little British stars have bit parts here: Leslie Banks as a super organiser at the Minstry of Economic Warfare, Michael Redgrave as a humorous Russian in Germany, Will Hay and Bernard Miles have an intense 3 minutes fighting off the Luftwaffe from on board ship, Robert Morley as a frothing Nazi officer, Ronald Shiner has 2 seconds as a shipping clerk in a phone box, George Woodbridge as half the man he later became. And many others. Was that a woman's voice dubbed onto the man at the Bunawerke production meeting, and if so why?!

The "vicious intrigues of the Capitalist-British-Jewish Empire" are still a major concern to a lot of people today – mainly British passport holders though! This was a film made solely for 1940, and is a great window on the thought-processes of the time, if not the truth. Also it's useful to bear in mind that if the War they were all supporting in here had been lost I wouldn't be here writing this nor you reading it.
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6/10
Quaint propaganda
paultp13 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
OK the spoiler first, Germany looses! Now I am sure if John Cleese was around at the time he would have written something like this. 1940 and the Phoney War was over, but Britain still had years of hardship ahead. This is a quaint view of things with the totally useless Hampden bomber flown nonchalantly over Germany with John Mills munching sandwiches whilst ably directing Michael Rennie to the target and actually hitting it. In reality the film contains a fundamental truth, the economic blockade of Germany did have a very real impact on the final outcome. Now it is a classic piece of propaganda that only the British could do. Amusing and of historical interest.
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