Hollywood’s Version of the War: The Polish Films

M. B. B. Biskupski

in Hollywood’s War with Poland 1939–1945

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125596
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135335 | DOI:
Hollywood’s Version of the War: The Polish Films

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Hollywood had much material to use but created only three films set in Poland. Two of them deal with the last days of peace and the immediate aftermath of the invasion. Only None Shall Escape, made in 1944, focuses on the occupation. Certainly the inattention to Poland reflected the fact that, by the time of American belligerency, the September campaign was more than two years past. By late 1941, World War II seemed largely an affair of Britain, Russia, and the United States. Life under German occupation was another matter, however. Unprecedented in its brutality, this was a story of contemporary relevance. Hollywood showed interest in Czech, French, and Norwegian occupation, but the situation in Poland was virtually ignored. This chapter considers its modest repertoire of three films. The first, most expensive, and by far best-known American wartime film devoted to Poland was To Be or Not to Be, set in occupied Warsaw early in the war.

Keywords: Hollywood; Poland; None Shall Escape; German occupation; wartime film; United States; World War II

Chapter.  15104 words. 

Subjects: Film

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