baleanoptera: (BoB Lewis)

From Ken Burns' The War

The Battle of Midway

During World War II director John Ford to a break from directing epic westerns starring John Wayne and devoted himself to making propaganda documentaries. The most famous of these was the twenty minutes long colour film The Battle of Midway:
video under cut )

The film is famous for its actual combat footage, particularly the way the camera shakes with the impacts of the blasts and how shots of the soldiers are predominantly close-ups due to the need to stick together during the bombardment. Both the shaky camera and the close-ups were later employed by Steven Spielberg in the Omaha beach landing in Saving Private Ryan, and later in Band of Brothers, particularly in the episodes Day of Days and crossroads. ++++ )

Ken Burn's The War

In Ford's The Battle of Midway the images tell the main story, but they are effectively complemented by the rhetoric of various voiceovers. A repeated phrase is how the soldiers are from this town, or that town or "any other American town". At one point the narrators says: "men and women of American. Here comes your neighbor's son", combined with mentions of the name of the various soldiers we see close-ups of. It all helps create a personal, intimate feeling that seems to confirm the film's claim that "this is our front yard". The reason I find this interesting is that Ken Burns in his documentary The War does exactly the same thing. ++++ )


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November 2015

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