Daily Archives: June 28, 2012

Greatest Patriotic Films Ever #8 Yankee Doodle Dandy

“It seems it always happens. Whenever we get too high-hat and too sophisticated for flag-waving, some thug nation decides we’re a push-over all ready to be blackjacked. And it isn’t long before we’re looking up, mighty anxiously, to be sure the flag’s still waving over us.”

Nothing like good old, unapologetic flag waving.  This film is the story of the life of actor, writer, director, songwriter, producer George M. Cohan.  A stage-veteran from birth, born on the 4th of July, and a die hard patriot.  Writer of such songs as “Over There” and “Grand Old Flag” the man provided this nation with some of finest moments of patriotism in the first half of the century.

The film, made in 1942 and directed by Casablanca director Michael Curitz, the film is 2 solid hours of flag waving and joy.  Yeah, it’s a propaganda film for WWII—what’s a shame is that Hollywood no longer sees itself as having a duty to uplift the nation when times are rough.

I’d include clips from the film of Cohan’s stirring number “Over There” which he wrote to inspire and entertain the troops in WWI after they turned him down from joining the Army (at 39 he was too old)—yes the man was in the USO before there even was a USO—or a clip of the final scenes which are just as patriotic…but Turner pictures seems to have had the embedding function disabled on these, so you’ll just have to go to then links.

I can’t say too much about the film because it is all fairly blunt: America is the greatest nation on Earth.  However, I would like to point out that in addition to everything else, this is the usual great story of a man that started with nothing and made his fame and fortune on talent and drive.  Here in America these stories are a dime a dozen…in other nations they’re rather few and far between.

I can only say that if you’ve never seen this film, you should.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Art, Patriotism