Favorite Film Finds of 2016

This post was written with Heidi Holmstrom. In the past year, staff in the motion picture preservation lab handled millions of feet of film. Films might come to us for inspection and repair, photochemical duplication, or digitization. To follow up last year’s list, we’ve identified a handful of films that were digitized in 2016 and … Continue reading Favorite Film Finds of 2016

General Douglas MacArthur’s Strategic World War II Maps

General Douglas MacArthur served as the commander of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East during World War II. During the war, MacArthur led the campaign in the Pacific theater for the Army. In 1966, the Department of the Army published two volumes of reports of MacArthur’s involvement in the war. These reports describe … Continue reading General Douglas MacArthur’s Strategic World War II Maps

World War II Veteran Lloyd Heller Shares Details About Production of 1943 Tank Training Film

In August, an e-mail came to motion picture archivist Carol Swain’s inbox asking about a World War II training film called Security on the March. Richard Herde contacted the Motion Picture unit looking for information about a film his 100-year-old uncle, Corporal Lloyd Heller, had helped make while serving as a tanker in the United … Continue reading World War II Veteran Lloyd Heller Shares Details About Production of 1943 Tank Training Film

A Worthy Resting Place: American Military Cemeteries Overseas

In 1923, in the wake of World War I, Congress established the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). This independent agency assumed control of commemorative activities begun by the Battle Monuments Board of the War Department.  Together with the Office of the Quartermaster General and the Commission of Fine Arts, the ABMC established and maintains overseas commemorative … Continue reading A Worthy Resting Place: American Military Cemeteries Overseas

Favorite Film Finds of 2015

In the past year, staff in the motion picture preservation lab handled nearly three million feet of film. Films might come to us for inspection and repair, photochemical duplication, or digitization. To follow up last year's list, we've identified a handful of films that were digitized in 2015 and found their way to our list of favorites. This year's list … Continue reading Favorite Film Finds of 2015

Before They Were Famous: Actors Who Appeared in Government Films

Robert Mitchum To the People of the United States (1943) More than a decade before he terrorized children as creepy preacher Harry Powell in Night of the Hunter (1955), and two years prior to his Oscar-nominated role as Lieutenant Walker in The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), Robert Mitchum played a grounded bomber crew mechanic … Continue reading Before They Were Famous: Actors Who Appeared in Government Films

From War Dogs to Remote Controlled Monkeys: Animals in the Military

Dogs have a long history serving alongside humans in military campaigns. The earliest recorded use of war dogs is from around 600 BC, and dogs have acted as scouts, sentries, and fighters in conflicts around the globe. Some dogs, such as Sergeant Stubby in World War I and Chips in World War II, have even … Continue reading From War Dogs to Remote Controlled Monkeys: Animals in the Military

The Great Beard Contest of 1941

Last week, Heidi transferred several reels of film documenting "overseas activity" in the summer of 1941. Nestled among shots of city streets and training exercises were playful scenes depicting a facial hair contest at Fort Stotsenburg in the Philippines. If a beard contest doesn't scream "put me on the Internet" I don't know what does, so … Continue reading The Great Beard Contest of 1941

The Enemy Strikes: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944

Seventy years ago, on December 16, 1944, Allied Forces in Europe were taken by surprise when the Germans launched an attack in the Ardennes region, pushing into France, Luxembourg, and Belgium. The offensive came six months after D-Day and the successful invasion of Normandy, on a misty day when the skies did not permit the use of … Continue reading The Enemy Strikes: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944

Home Movies from the War Front: The First Fighters in New Guinea

This post was written by Criss Kovac. Criss is the supervisor of the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab.  Home movies aren’t usually thought of as a rarity – especially these days as we happily capture our kids, friends, families, and pets on our smartphones-- but home movies taken during war on the front lines are … Continue reading Home Movies from the War Front: The First Fighters in New Guinea