The Fleet's In, 1942

William Holden is Casey Kirby, the unassuming guy who just wants to get an autograph for his sister from Dorothy Lamour as The Countess. She’s the woman every man wants, but no man can have.

Betty Hutton gave an amusing performance as Bessie Day. One of my favorite scenes was the men encountering the hundreds of stair steps they must travel to get to the home of Bessie and The Countess. Bracken and Hutton cracked me up. Eddie Bracken played the necessary role of Barney Waters who tried to help but got tangled in a big mess. This was the first of five films he was in with Hutton.

This "sailors and singing" film was fun. Jimmy Dorsey played a challenging role: himself. As did Bob Eberly and Helen O’Connell. Other performers were even more entertaining. Costumes were designed by Edith Head, one of my favorite costume designers.

The director, Victor Schertzinger, died before the film was released. He had worked with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour in Road to Singapore (1940) and Road to Zanzibar (1941) as well.

The Warrior

Interesting how there are so many movies about WWII that have singing in them. Look for my next movie review to give an example of wartime singing.

I wouldn’t normally combine war and singing, but many have – even God. There is more than one account in the Bible where music and battles are combined. In 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, the story is told of a faithful leader who knew how to work with God. When God says he will fight your battles for you, it’s easy to develop a thankful heart and praise God with loud singing.

Join me at Seek God With Me where I’ll show two places in the Bible where singing is important. Of course there are a lot more than two to choose from, but for now, these show the value of a warrior’s voice.

Nazi Agent, 1942

Conrad Veidt plays identical twins reunited after 8 years apart. One brother, Otto Becker, is an innocent bookstore owner and stamp collector. The other, Baron Hugo Von Detner, is a Nazi official forcing his brother to cooperate in a cover up. The Baron must keep his brother quiet until something happens to keep the Baron quiet. Otto must disguise himself and try to work against the Nazi schemes his brother worked with.

The scenes with the bird who sings for only one brother felt important in the beginning. Later the bird comes back into the story to add more suspense. Even the stamp collecting played an important role in the story. The scene with people booing at someone at the end of the story probably hit a nerve in theaters when this came out in 1942.

Conrad Veidt performed well in this film which released in March 1942, and then he performed the role of Major Heinrich Strasser in Casablanca which released in January of 1943.

Prepare for War

It’s in the training that the battle is won. If your soldiers will not obey commands, you will have chaos and you will not win. If your soldiers don’t have a warrior’s heart, he will not fight like a warrior.

Gideon was given over 30,000 men to lead, but the Lord said he had too many men to win the battle. How often do you hear that you have too many soldiers to win?

Are you, like Gideon, willing to go with the few bold and obedient hand-picked soldiers in order to complete your mission?

Today on Seek God With Me, I'm looking at what we're preparing for. Are we preparing to flee from an intimidating enemy or face the enemy, knowing God is with us?

In the middle of your battle, what do you want to do? Hide or win? Read the full story of Gideon in the book of Judges. You might be surprised at how God shows up.

To Be or Not To Be, 1942

The United States entered WWII in December of 1941. In 1942, Japan captured Manila in the Philippines and invaded Burma, Singapore, and the Solomon Islands. The first US troops arrived in Great Britain. American women joined the work force, filling eight out of ten jobs formerly filled by men. Carole Lombard joined the war efforts by going home to Indiana to participate in a war bond rally in January of 1942. Her plane crashed, killing all aboard.

The Los Angeles premiere of To Be or Not to Be was on February 13, 1942. This comedy, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, was released when few people had much to laugh about. Over the past 70 years, it has more than made up for its slow start.

This is the story of a troupe of Polish actors, including Joseph Tura played by Jack Benny and his wife Maria Tura played by Carole Lombard, who use their skills to fool the real Nazi soldiers during the invasion of Warsaw. The title refers to Shakespeare’s "Hamlet" soliloquy which is used in a key part of the film. Another actor in the troupe wants to play Shylock from another Shakespeare play, "The Merchant of Venice". Part of the fun is seeing actors practicing their talents in tense situations in order to survive.

Carole Lombard also acted in Nothing Sacred with Frederic March in 1937. Sig Ruman was a doctor in Nothing Sacred and Col. Ehrhardt in To Be or Not to Be.

Robert Stack’s work as Polish airman Lt. Sobinski in this film is one of his very few roles in a comedy. He was also terrific in his role as Rex Kramer in Airplane!, a comedy from 1980.

Fear No Evil

70 years ago, WWII was causing destruction all over the world. Nazi German extermination camps were opening. Japanese forces were attacking nation after nation. In the US, women were taking the place of men in the work force. There were war bond sales to round up more money to send our troops the supplies they needed. People showed courage in the middle of destruction. Those who knew God were praying. Those who didn’t were sometimes found praying too.

Even in recent years when people have had to face death, they did so with Psalm 23 on their lips. Those who didn’t know it already might have been reading over someone else’s shoulder. The psalm inspires courage when people need it most.

By now, people have seen so many movies where Psalm 23 is quoted that using it in real life-threatening situations is instinctive.

Do you know Psalm 23?

Join me at Seek God With Me as I highlight one of the reminders in the psalm.

If you wanted to, you could have the entire Psalm 23 memorized before next Wednesday. Try it.

Homecoming, 1948

In this WWII film, we see a contrast between two doctors. Dr. Sunday, played by John Hodiak, is passionate about the local community. Dr. Johnson, played by Clark Gable, is trying to enjoy life. When war breaks out, Dr. Johnson does the expected. He enlists and becomes an army surgeon. He tries to keep his marriage going while he’s away, but sassy nurse “Snapshot” doesn’t help. His wife begins to get jealous over her husband’s attractive nurse since he writes home about her.

When Dr. Johnson finally comes home, he tries to sort out his life, his marriage, and the ways the war has changed him. He thinks about Dr. Sunday and the local community, people who have been in a different kind of war.

Clark Gable in his late forties still looked good, believable as a love interest for Lana Turner, who was twenty years younger. Lana Turner, as “Snapshot” McCall, didn’t wear the big Hollywood dresses, but rather a military uniform. But she looked good enough to make another woman jealous.

Gable’s wife was played by the fabulous Anne Baxter. She’d already won an Oscar for her work in The Razor’s Edge in 1946. In just two years, Baxter would be nominated for an Oscar for playing the title role in All About Eve. In eight years, Baxter would play beautiful Nefretiri in the classic Charlton Heston film The Ten Commandments.

Fighting the Battle

This month, I’m taking a look at war. There are so many different kinds of war. Overcoming conflict of any kind is a battle. Losing weight is a battle. When you announce your desire to lose weight, enemies show up to defeat you. You have to battle the urge to shove three servings of a decadent chocolate cake into your mouth. If you don’t use effective weapons, you’ll be overwhelmed by the enemy.

Join me today at Seek God With Me as I discover the necessary elements of winning a war.