Film: 7361

War + Military | 1940 | Silent | B/W

Synopsis:

Public morale boosting compilation newsreel outlining the state of the American navy two years after Pearl Harbour during World War Two.
'Two years after Pearl Harbor -
The World's greatest Navy!'
Head on shot of bows of unidentified American battleship sailing out of harbour. Cheering sailors and the Stars and Stripes fluttering in the wind. Bows of an aircraft carrier sliding down its launch platform and into the sea. Launch of a submarine followed by the image of two officers (one USAF, the other USN) presumably attending a launch ceremony. The Air Force officer is saluting whilst the Naval officer appears to be swearing allegiance as his right hand is half raised with the palm facing outward.
'Building Ships And Men!'
Camera pans left to right across the faces of a large detail of young naval commando recruits, with at least three of them visibly speaking (possibly answering roll call). Right to left upwards glancing shot across front row of said group, the youth of the recruits obvious. Fade to another group of recruits this time bare chested and standing at the side of an indoor swimming pool. A general montage fitness training follows; swimming, gymnastics, running, simulated beach landings and assault course training, the last two under winter conditions of snow and ice.
'Trained to blast the enemy from the seven seas!'
Naval gun firing exercise including anti-aircraft firing practice. The force and recoil power of one particular AA gun is captured through the shaking, juddering figure of the youthful sailor firing it without any hope of accuracy.
'Ships of the line - the most powerful in the world!'
The USS Texas entering Manhattan Harbor at the head of a large returning convoy of other destroyers. Aerial long shots to create sense of perspective.
'Destroyers - for convoy and battle!'
Camera mounted on starboard of one destroyer capturing three others sailing behind in line. Successive shot of same three destroyers in staggered diagonal formation, all on a tilt.
'Cruisers - to fight a two-ocean war!'
Cruiser dipping into the sea in rough weather. A further two cruisers sailing abreast of each other, in bright weather but rough seas. Spray breaking across the bows. Downward shot of forward guns and bows splitting the waves. Wash and spray flooding the decks.
'The "Battlewaggon" - mightier than ever!'
Unidentified destroyer with forward guns in battle position. Solitary reconnaissance boat-plane taking off.
'General Quarters!'
Bugler sounding reveille. Sailors waking and getting dressed with hurried discipline. Safety door to lower deck being closed. Possible blank charge being delivered for loading of guns. Master gunner blowing his pipe whistle in readiness of guns firing. A rush of hurried activity and movement on the forecastle with the ship's Captain 'sighting' a target with his telescope. Close-up of Captain with binoculars, followed by guns swivelling to train on so called target. Shot of naval gunner firing a gun, with shirtless back to the camera. This is followed by the first salvo from the forward guns, with a montage of various battleships firing repeatedly to demonstrate sheer power. Of particular note are the impressive high intensity discharge flashes from the barrels, and the good mix of different camera angles.
'The mail follows the fleet!'
Mail boat arriving alongside a battleship, with mail being delivered by pulley system. Mail is handed out and enthusiastically read, probably photographs of sweethearts at home.
'Wooden ships and iron-men - the P.T. boats!'
Shots of rapid reaction torpedo assault boats, closely followed by two separate low level aircraft fly-pasts, and a rear gunner following a single aircraft across the screen with his AA gun.
'60 miles an hour!'
P.T. boats speed across the waves, with other torpedo boats giving a show of strength in depth charge practice.
'Blimps are the 'eyes' and 'ears' of a convoy!'
Airships suspended over same naval exercise as if escorting the convoy; rather seen as guiding it long distance across the Atlantic Ocean. They also demonstrate their own firepower by releasing torpedoes.
'American submarines have accounted for hundreds of Jap ships!'
Shot to a submerging submarine (possibly a 1944 Balao class, such as the USS Perch SS313) with camera strapped to hull of craft on the right of the conning tower, facing backwards. Camera reverts to inside of sub where Captain is using the periscope as the crew ready to fire torpedoes. Excellent capturing of frenzied action under pressures of both cramped and confined spaces and an actual war situation.
'On the surface - with the Japs on the receiving end!'
The submarine has surfaced, and an aerial long shot shows the entire length of the craft, with the Captain and crew surveying the damage to an implied Japanese boat as they score a direct hit.
'The world's largest, fastest fleet of aircraft carriers!'
Aerial view of unidentified aircraft carrier, yet could be the USS Sangamon which saw concentrated action in the Pacific at this time. The ship's flight deck is crammed with planes (either F4F-3 Wildcats or F6F-3 Hellcats), all readying for take and some shown being loaded with bombs.
'Action near the Marshall Islands!'
Battle about to be joined as aircraft take off at dusk.
'Score for Navy -2 - Cruisers! 4 - Transports! 72 - Jap planes!'
Ten to fifteen seconds of excellent action footage of dogfights, with camera on board US fighter planes scoring several hits on Japanese torpedo planes (possibly Kawanishi N1K2-J's).
'Then the Jap torpedo planes find the carrier!'
Long shot of US carrier under heavy attack from Japanese planes with dramatic coverage of near misses. Sequence of approximately twenty to thirty seconds switches to the on board flight deck of said carrier under attack. Chaos and ferocity of sea warfare amply illustrated as Japanese persistence becomes relentless. The main purpose of this section, however is to portray the resilience and success in battle of the US naval crew, and US Navy in general. Shown through camera capturing several points at which Japanese planes are directly hit and dive out of control, without wings, or parts of fuselage across the screen in either direction, crashing in huge balls of flames into the ocean. Invaluable historical coverage.
'Salute to Men and Ships!'
Back on shore, a naval march past for battle honours is recorded. There follows an interspersing montage of three separate battleships of the fleet and their particulars battle statistics; each image shows officers and crew in victorious and jubilant mood for the camera.
'USS Wahoo - sank a Jap convoy!' 'USS San Francisco - blasted 3 Jap warships!'
'USS Boise - sank 6 Jap warships!'
Drawing to a close the film takes on the form of a series of elegiac shots; a group of walking wounded sailors on the parade ground; four sailors present marching to present both the Stars and Stripes and a ship's flag; a long shot of a lone aircraft carrier at rest in the Pacific Ocean at sunset; a bugler sounding the Last Post, silhouetted against the setting sun.
The final image, arguably an effort to remind the audience of why they are fighting, is a five second long shot of the Statue of Liberty. Nice Second World War propaganda !

Summary: Public morale boosting compilation newsreel outlining the state of the American navy two years after Pearl Harbour during World War Two. Ship of the Line. Destroyers. Cruisers. Battleships. Submarines. Aircraft Carriers.


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