—Don’t Blink or You’ll Miss the Stars—
Your Bogie Film Fix:
Just a SLIVER of Bogie here . . .
Director: Crane Wilbur
A Polish couple immigrates to the United States and sires generation after generation of children who all enlist and serve in the US military from the Civil War on through World War II.
What I Thought
While the story plays out like one of your typical Rah! Rah! Go America! Hollywood shorts meant to bolster American morale and sympathies towards our military men and women, there is a deeper theme on display here. Director Wilbur Crane is really lifting up the countless foreign immigrants who came to the United States only to spend the rest of their (often short) lives, defending the freedoms that they immigrated to enjoy. Even after losing their limbs, or even lives, in various wars, the descendants of these immigrants would go on to defend Lady Liberty out of a deep debt of gratitude to both their ancestors and their country.
At just around 16 minutes it’s a short watch, and it won’t come close to filling out a night of entertainment, but there’s a little more substance here than in some other WWII shorts of the time. It should also be noted that all of the Hollywood stars listed in the credits appear for only a fraction of a second in archival footage as they spoke for fundraising events. Dennis Morgan’s speech does seem to be recreated for this short, though.
The Bogart Factor
I didn’t officially time it, but I’m going to guess that Bogart’s on screen for less than two seconds here. He’s giving a speech about the war effort and there’s no audio, so he really contributes nothing to this film other than his name.
Gary Gray plays one of the Polish descendants, Thomas Jefferson Konowski. Nearly all of the acting is done here with voiceover narration, so there’s not a lot to be said about the performances. I couldn’t find any source that listed who played the original Polish couple that immigrates.
Danny Kaye, Joan Leslie, Knute Rockne, Dennis Morgan, and President Woodrow Wilson also appear as themselves. Morgan gets a decent chunk of time in what appears to be a projection screen recreation of a war rally event where he’s speaking.
Jay Silverheels shows up as a Native American!
Classic Bogie Moment
Not much to see here folks – so I’ll give you his cameo in its entirety:
The Bottom Line
I guess if you’re a fan of war effort shorts, this one’s not bad. Otherwise, this one’s not even for Bogart completists.