Welcome Back! We begin with another Disney film, Victory through Air Power. (This film isn’t part of their animated canon though). Victory through Air Power is an animated documentary. It was produced by Walt Disney and released by United Artists. It was released on July 17, 1943 in the United States. Victory through Air Power was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.
Victory through Air Power was directed by Perce Pearce (Snow White, Fantasia, Bambi). The animated sequences were directed by James Algar (Snow White, Fantasia, Bambi, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad), Clyde Geronimi (The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Melody Time-101 Dalmatians), and Jack Kinney (Pinocchio, Dumbo-The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Peter Pan). The “de Seversky” scenes were directed by H.C. Potter. (Director: The Second Chorus, The Time of Your Life)
The story direction was written by Perce Pearce. The story adaption is by T. Hee (Pinocchio, Fantasia, Make Mine Music), Erdman Penner (Pinocchio, Fantasia, Make Mine Music, Melody Time-Sleeping Beauty), William Cottrell (Snow White, Pinocchio, Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Melody Time, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan), James Brodero (Fantasia, Dumbo, Saludos Amigos-Make Mine Music), George Stallings (Fantasia-Bambi), and Jose Rodriguez.
The author appeared in the film. “The popular filmmaker Walt Disney read the book and felt that its message was so important that he personally financed the animated production of Victory Through Air Power.” (Wikipedia)
The main distributor RKO Radio Pictures refused to release the film, so Disney had the company that distributed their shorts, United Artists, distribute this film. It was the first and only time another studio distributed one of their movies. The budget was 788,000 and the box office was 799,000.
In 1941, Disney films were basically propaganda films for the United States government. Most films were created for training purposes, but Victory through Air Power were created to catch the government’s attention and to build morale. Both Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt agreed that Disney knew what he was doing.
“The film played a significant role for the Disney Corporation because it was the true beginning of educational films. The educational films would be, and still are, continually produced and used for the military, schools, and factory instruction. The company learned how to effectively communicate their ideas and efficiently produce the films while introducing the Disney characters to millions of people worldwide. Throughout the rest of the war, Disney characters effectively acted as ambassadors to the world. In addition to Victory Through Air Power, Disney produced Donald Gets Drafted, Education for Death, Der Fuehrer’s Face, and various training films for the military, reusing animation from Victory Through Air Power in some of them.” (Wikipedia)
In one scene, there’s a fictional bomb destroying a German submarine pen. This directly inspired the British to develop a real rocket bomb to attack targets. The weapon became known as the Disney bomb, and saw limited use before the war ended.
After, its release there was no theatrical releases for 60 years. The reason is most likely because it is seen as propaganda and may be offensive to the Germans and Japanese people. In 2004, it was released on Disney’s Wartime Collection in the Walt Disney Treasures DVD series.
It is based on the book “Victory through Air Power” by Alexander P. Seversky. Victory through Air Power was published in 1942.
“De Seversky began his military life at a young age. After serving in the Imperial Russian Navy, he received high honors and was the ace in the Navy after engaging in over 57 aerial combats. After coming to the United States, he created the Seversky Aircraft company before being forced out of the presidency of his own company in 1939. Seversky published Victory Through Air Power in 1942, and explained his theories of aviation and long-range bombing.” (Wikipedia)
“On July 11, 1943, the New York Times devoted a half page, “Victory from the Air,” to a feature consisting of pictures of scenes from the film with short captions. This was possibly the first time that such skilled use of visual description had been placed at the service of an abstract political argument.” It is one thing to hear someone say that against modern bombers, ‘bristling with armament… small single-seater fighters will find themselves helpless, for their guns are not maneuverable—they are fixed and can only fire forward.’ It is quite another to have this accompanied by vivid animations of swastika-tailed fighters jockeying for position and being shot down by beam-like animated blasts of fire from a bomber whose guns are “always in firing position.”Schickel quotes film critic James Agee as hoping that: Major de Seversky and Walt Disney know what they are talking about, for I suspect that an awful lot of people who see Victory Through Air Power are going to think they do… I had the feeling I was sold something under pretty high pressure, which I don’t enjoy, and I am staggered at the ease with which such self-confidence, on matters of such importance, can be blared all over the nation, without cross-questioning.” (Wikipedia)
Victory through Power was also nominated for an Academy Award.
Before the Film:
I have seen half of this film before. I remember being really bored.
So, first we start off with some news clips about the war and Billy Mitchell’s pleads. Then, it gives a dedication to him. Then, the narrator talks about airplanes, the history behind them, how they work, and other similar things. Then we get a discussion from the author. Then it talks and shows about winning in Britain, along with Hitler’s plans. The movie discusses aviation. Then the end, is an epic battle between the bald eagle and an octopus, with a sword. The eagle won.
The movie is very informative. It has a lot of information that I didn’t know. When, schools discuss World War 2, I think this would be a good idea to show them. The other documentaries are really really boring, so this might make children want to learn more. The battle at the end was really interesting though. I think the bald eagle signifies the United States while the octopus signifies Japan maybe, and since the bald eagle won, that means the United States beat Japan.
Victory through Air Power is black and white, which I know is a part of history, but I hate black and white films. Along, with silent films, I try really hard, but I find them incredibly boring, and it’s really difficult for me to pay attention. Like, I had to put a lot of effort just to stay focused and watch this film. There were still times that I stopped paying attention. The movie I find really boring, but most documentaries are boring. It could also be the subject matter, and maybe not necessarily the movie. I have no interest in aviation.
Victory through Air Power is a very informative movie. It helps you learn many new things that you might not know. It also has a pretty cool battle at the end of the movie between the bald eagle and the octopus. My interpretation of that was that the bald eagle represents the United States and the octopus represents Japan. Since, the bald eagle won the battle; it means that the United States beat Japan. The movie is in black-and-white and extremely long. The movie would’ve worked better if it was 40 minutes like Saludos Amigos. That way you don’t lose interest. I am sorry Disney, but I hate this film. I tried to like it, and I understand why they made it. But, it doesn’t take away the fact that I was incredibly bored and couldn’t wait for the film to end. I do think that Disney/animation enthusiasts, history majors, and people that love airplanes might like this film. Besides, that I don’t think other people might like it and I don’t think it could hold a child’s interest, nor would I want to watch the film again. So, with knowing the history and such behind the movie, and since it is very informative, although I hate it I’ll give it a higher grade than I was planning to. Overall, I rate it as a C-.
What did you think of the movie? Which was your favorite segment?
Next, up is another Disney movie is The Three Caballeros. It is the sequel to Saludos Amigos and is a part of their animated canon. It was released in 1944. The Three Caballeros brings back Donald, Jose, and adds the new member Panchito to the group. The Three Caballeros is another package film. I don’t remember much of the movie to be honest.
(I do not own pictures, videos, etc. My information came from my own knowledge of the film, Wikipedia, IMDB, and DisneyWiki.)