In Old Arizona- The innovative movie that nearly didn’t get made due to a Jackrabbit.

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In Old Arizona is a 1928 American Western film directed by Irving Cummings and Raoul Walsh, nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film, which was based on the character of the Cisco Kid in the story “The Caballero’s Way” by O. Henry, was a major innovation in Hollywood. It was the first major Western to use the new technology of sound and the first talkie to be filmed outdoors. It made extensive use of authentic locations, filming in Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park in Utah, and the Mission San Juan Capistrano and the Mojave Desert in California. The film premiered in Los Angeles on December 25, 1928 and went into general release on January 20, 1929.

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Raoul Walsh was cast as the Cisco Kid, as well as being the director; but during a return drive to Los Angeles from Utah, a jackrabbit jumped through the windshield of Walsh’s car, with both the rabbit and the broken glass hitting Walsh in the face. (Safety glass was added to cars the following year.) The damage to Walsh’s right eye necessitated replacing him in the lead role, re-writing the script and re-shooting some scenes with a different director while Walsh recuperated; Walsh thereafter wore the eye patch for which he was known, and eventually lost the eye entirely. Some footage of Walsh, in chase scenes and long shots, remains in the film.

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In Old Arizona contributed to creating the image of the singing cowboy, as its star, Warner Baxter, does some incidental singing. Baxter went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

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Other nominations included Best Director for Irving Cummings, Best Writing for Tom Barry, Best Cinematography for Arthur Edeson, and Best Picture.

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Education for Death- and other WWII propaganda movies.

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During WWII Hollywood did not sit still, it actively contributed to the US propaganda machine.

These propaganda movies were not done by unknown or obscure movie makers. They were done by some of the biggest studios in Tinseltown.One of the more surprising was no other then Walt Disney.

Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi is an animated propaganda short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released on January 15, 1943, by RKO Radio Pictures, directed by Clyde Geronimi and principally animated by Ward Kimball. The short is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by American author Gregor Ziemer.

A propaganda look into the mind of Hans, a boy born into a German family. Watch as his attitude about the value of human life degrades as he is exposed to Hitler Youth and other Nazi organizations and attitudes.In the end, Hans and the rest of the German soldiers march off to war only to fade into rows of identical graves, with nothing on them except a swastika and a helmet perched on top. Thus Hans’s education is complete – “his education… for death.”

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Der Fuehrer’s Face (originally titled Donald Duck in Nutzi Land) is a 1942 American animated anti-Nazi propaganda short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released in 1943 by RKO Radio Pictures.

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In World War II, a marching band playing “Der Fuehrer’s Face” passes by Donald Duck’s house. He awakes, has a poor breakfast with stale bread. Then he goes to an army factory where he works in the production of ammunition brainwashed by the Nazi propaganda. Donald Duck has a nervous breakdown with the stressed situation but when he awakes, he finds that he had a nightmare and he actually lives in United States of America.

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Der Fuehrer’s Face won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 15th Academy Awards. It was the only Donald Duck film to receive the honor.

Given the fact that Adolf Hitler actually had been a great fan of Disney movies,Snow White was his favourite movie, this surely would have antagonized him.

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Gregor Ziemer’s book Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi was also used for another 1943 movie”Hitler’s Children”.

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Hitler’s Children is a 1943 American black-and-white propaganda film made by RKO Radio Pictures. It was directed by the Canadian-American director, Edward Dmytryk, from an adaptation by Emmet Lavery of Gregor Ziemer’s book Education For Death.

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This propaganda piece starts in 1933. Prof. Nichols’ American school in Berlin is next door to a school for the Hitler Youth. Karl, from the latter, is attracted to German-American Anna, but events lead to their separation. Six years later, near the outbreak of war in Europe, Anna is removed from Nichols’ school on presumption of German citizenship. Nichols becomes obsessed with finding her, as Anna undergoes a rather lurid odyssey through the Nazi nightmare.

Hitler – Dead or Alive is a 1942 American war film directed by Nick Grinde.

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The plot of this film was inspired by true events. During the early stages of World War II a prominent American businessman offered a reward of one million dollars to bring Adolf Hitler to justice, dead or alive. Russell Hicks plays the part of the American businessman in this film who hires three gangster ex-convicts released from Alcatraz prison. The gangsters are played by Ward Bond, Warren Hymer and Paul Fix.

The quasi-comic tone of the film turns dead serious at the end, when a desperate Hitler makes a break for it and is shot by the SS officer in charge, who states disdainfully (and ironically): “To think that Germany could produce a piece of filth like you”, and Bond makes a long patriotic speech while facing a firing squad.

In November 2012, while being interviewed by Playboy magazine, filmmaker Quentin Tarantino admitted the inspiration for his film Inglourious Basterds came from Hitler – Dead or Alive.

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The Strange Death of Adolf Hitler is a US-american film,directed by James P. Hogan. It’s probably more of a War movie then Propaganda film. The film follows a man who plans to murder Adolf Hitler and steal his identity.

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A clerk in 1942 Vienna who has a gift for mimicry, is arrested for doing a Hitler impression. The Gestapo decide to give him plastic surgery to look like Hitler so he can take his place in public, acting as a decoy for assassination attempts.

The Hitler Gang is a 1944 American pseudo-documentary film directed by John Farrow, which traces the political rise of Adolf Hitler.

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Described as a “documentary-propaganda” film by its studio, Paramount Pictures, the historical drama is based on documented fact and marks the first serious effort to portray Hitler in film. The filmmakers chose to avoid casting stars in the lead roles, assembling instead a remarkable company of lookalikes to play Hitler, Goebbels, Hess and other leading Nazis.

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This movie shows us the rise of Adolf Hitler from a small radical political adventurer to the dictator of Germany in the way of a gangster film. Except for some minor inaccuracies the historical facts are given in a correct way.

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Herbert Brenon-Forgotten Irish Oscar nominated Movie Director

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I pride myself to be a bit of a movie buff, but to my amazement I had never heard of this Oscar nominated and ‘Photo Play-Medal of Honor’ winner.

Today marks his 140th birthday. He has been credited for directing at least 124 movies and shorts, which is an amazing feat by any measure.

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Herbert Brenon (13 January 1880 – 21 June 1958) born Alexander Herbert Reginald St. John Brenon was an Irish film director, actor and screenwriter during the era of silent movies through the 1930s.

He was born at 25 Crosthwaite Park, in Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, to journalist, poet and politician Edward St John Brenon and Francis Harries.

In 1882, the family moved to London, where Herbert was educated at St Paul’s School and at King’s College London.

 

 

Before becoming a director, he performed in vaudeville acts with his wife, Helen Oberg. Started as a stagehand in New York. By 1909 he operated a small picture theatre in Pennsylvania. Two years later he was hired as a writer by Carl Laemmle, directing his first short the next year. Signed by William Fox in 1915, graduating to feature films.

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Some of his more noteworthy films were the first movie adaptations of Peter Pan (1924) and Beau Geste (1926),and Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) with Lon Chaney.

 

For the 1927 movie “Sorrell and Son” about a a decorated war hero, who raises his son Kit alone after Kit’s mother deserts husband and child in the boy’s infancy, he was nominated for the Academy Award for best director ,dramatic pictures, at the First ever Oscars(Academy Awards) in 1929.

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Unfortunately he lost out to Frank Borzage for his picture “7th Heaven”

 

Regarded sound pictures with a measure of apprehension. Returned to Britain in 1934, but his career was well on the decline and he retired in 1940.His last movie “The Flying Squad”  he shot in London in 1940. It was based on a novel by Edgar Wallace in which the officers of the Flying Squad attempt to tackle a drug-smuggling organisation. The novel had previously been filmed in 1929 and 1932.

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He died in Los Angeles, California and was interred in a private mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY. Survived by a son, Dr. Herbert Cyril Brenon.

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