When the world launched into the reality of World War II, Hollywood went to war right alongside the United States. Investing in the government, boosting the morale of soldiers and civilians, and even seeing military careers begin for many beloved entertainers. Laced in triumphs and tragedies, Hollywood’s involvement in World War II is a fascinating story.
Just short of the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor comes the release of Hollywood Victory: The Movies, Stars, and Stories of World War II by Christian Blauvelt. Published by Running Press, this book is a new addition to the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) library. It also contains a foreword by Dr. Robert M. Citino of the National World War II Museum.
Hollywood Victory delivers into the context of the period, beginning with studios leaning towards isolationism. The studios later began to support the war effort in various ways, including releases of war-related films. Hollywood stars also responded to the command by enlisting, partaking in war bond rallies, as well as entertaining and serving soldiers at the storied Hollywood Canteen.
Film industry notables like Orson Welles, James Stewart, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Bob Hope, Marlene Dietrich, and more are explored in this book. Additionally, the sad losses of Carole Lombard and Leslie Howard are also discussed.
Blauvelt offers a thorough and highly interesting overview of Hollywood’s contributions to the war effort. His exploration of the period and its context are superb. Almost any of the chapters discussed in this book could lead to books of their own, but Blauvelt offers an exceptional sampling of each of these topics, creating a thoughtful depiction of the many ways in which Hollywood influenced–and was influenced by–this challenging time in history.
Hollywood Victory is sure to be enjoyed by film and history aficionados and is a fine exploration of Hollywood’s multifaced effort to enlist in World War II in a unique and influential way.