Bringing Battle to the Home Front: With the Marines at Tarawa
Will you be watching the Oscars this Sunday? Did you know that a number of films produced by the United States government were nominated or won Academy Awards? One such film is With the Marines at Tarawa, which brought the experience of a major battle to the American public and consequently won the 1945 Academy Award for best documentary short.
With the Marines at Tarawa hit theaters March 2nd, 1944. Sunday’s Oscar broadcast marks the 70th anniversary of the film’s release.
The Unites States Marine Corps fought the Battle of Tarawa over four days in November, 1943. At the end of the battle, nearly a thousand Marines were dead, and over two thousand were wounded. Of those holding the island, there were nearly 4700 casualties. Only seventeen Japanese soldiers surrendered; of about a thousand Korean forced laborers, 129 survived the battle.
Beyond the strategic value of the victory, the battle is significant today because so much of it was caught on film by our combat cameramen. Seeing the footage made the experience real for those on the home front, and serves as a record of the horror of war for those of us who watch it now.
With the Marines at Tarawa was carefully crafted to bring viewers into the experience, from the somber mood during preparation, through the chaos of battle, the overwhelming sadness of counting and caring for the dead, and the sense of accomplishment as the American flag was raised on the island.
In addition, the film focuses on how lives were saved by competent medical personnel and the possibility of blood transfusions, a fact that would have provided hope to those with loved ones on the front lines. Viewers are left with a sense of grief, as well as patriotism in knowing that “our boys” were bravely fighting this “war we did not want.”
Seating is on a first–come, first–served basis. No reservations are accepted. Free tickets are distributed at the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue, 60 minutes before start time. You must be present to receive a ticket. Theater doors open 30 minutes prior to start time. The saving of seats is strictly prohibited. Please note that some films may not be appropriate for general audiences.
Screening Schedule (Subject to availability)
Documentary Feature Nominees
Wednesday, February 26, 7 p.m.
20 Feet from Stardom
Nominees to be determined
(90 minutes; rated PG-13)
Thursday, February 27, 7 p.m.
The Act of Killing
Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
(122 minutes; unrated)
Friday, February 28, 7 p.m.
Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
(104 minutes; unrated)
Saturday, March 1, 7 p.m.
Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
(86 minutes; unrated)
Sunday, March 2, 4 p.m.
Cutie and the Boxer
Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
(82 minutes; rated R)
Live Action Short Film Nominees
Saturday, March 1, noon
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
(24 minutes; unrated)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras
(30 minutes; unrated)
Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson
(23 minutes; unrated)
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari
(7 minutes; unrated)
The Voorman Problem
Mark Gill and Baldwin Li
(13 minutes; unrated)
Total Running time: 97 minutes.
Animated Short Film Nominees
Saturday, March 1, 3:30 p.m.
Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
(13 minutes; unrated)
Get a Horse!
Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim
(6 minutes; rated G)
Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
(12 minutes; unrated)
(14 minutes; unrated)
Room on the Broom
Max Lang and Jan Lachauer
(26 minutes; unrated)
Total Running Time: 71 minutes.
Documentary Short Subject Nominees
Sunday, March 2, 11 a.m.
(39 minutes; unrated)
(23 minutes; unrated)
Karama Has No Walls
(26 minutes; unrated)
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
(38 minutes; unrated)
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
(40 minutes; unrated)
Total Running Time: 166 minutes
The screenings are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in partnership with the Charles Guggenheim Center for the Documentary Film and the Foundation for the National Archives.
Maria von Trapp, the last surviving of the seven children portrayed in “The Sound of Music,” died last week at her home in Stowe, Vermont, at the age of 99.
Most Americans know of the von Trapp family from the play and film, and several of the Rogers and Hammerstein songs have become standards. The play and movie tells how the family fled Europe in the late 1930s as the Nazis were tightening their grip on Europe.
In the play, Mary Martin had the role of governess for young Maria and her brothers and sisters. Julie Andrews took that role in the movie, and Carrie Underwood recently had it in a live TV version.
If you want to know what really happened to the real von Trapp family, go to “The Real Story of the von Trapp Family” by Jean Gearin in Prologue magazine, the flagship publication of the National Archives.
In her article, Gearin draws on records from the National Archives to separate fact from fiction about the family and tell what happened to the family members after they arrived in the United States. Gearin is an archivist with the National Archives at Boston.
Image: Photographs from von Trapp Declaration of Intention documents. Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21.
"A Merry Christmas To All"
Henry Ford believed that motion pictures held great educational and advertising value. As such, he established the Ford Motion Picture department in 1914 and filmed a variety of topics. These films were later donated to the National Archives (including The Great Train Robbery, featured earlier this month).
Wishing you a Merry (if not quiet) Christmas & Happy Holidays from Today’s Document!
The 110th Anniversary of The Great Train Robbery
Moving images changed with the debut of The Great Train Robbery in December of 1903. Produced by Thomas Edison, inventor of many audio and visual playback machines, the film began to shift the focus from novelty films such as Carmencita to plot-based cinema.
The Great Train Robbery was one of the first crime dramas and archetype of the western genre. The film introduced moviegoers to robberies, chase scenes, and gun shoot-offs. The film was also one of the first to incorporate a full cast of actors and to shoot on-location.
Most of the films preserved at the National Archives were produced by government agencies. Yet The Great Train Robbery was produced by the Edison Company. This raises the question, how did it get here?
Learn the answer - and more background to The Great Train Robbery at our Media Matters blog: Media Matters » The Great Train Robbery
Protecting Your Past–It’s What We Do Here: The Preservation and Restoration of The March
The March, the James Blue film documenting the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was released to countries around the world in 1964. Despite this wide reach, the film remained out of the American public eye for decades. That is, until August 1st, 1986 , when Congress passed HR 4985 instructing “the Archivist of the United States to provide for the distribution within the United States of the USIA film “The March.”
To read more about The Preservation and Restoration of the March, visit NARA’s Media Matters blog!
The National Archives is screening the digital restoration of The March at the Archives building in Washington, D.C. at noon August 26th – 28th in the McGowan Theater and will make the restored version available for viewing online.
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
On August 10th, 1963 The U.S. Government, under the auspices of the United States Information Agency (USIA), tasked Hearst Metrotone News with crafting a documentary covering The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the landmark civil rights event planned for the end of that month.
To read more about The March, visit NARA’s Media Matters blog!
The National Archives is premiering the digital restoration of The March at the Archives building in Washington, D.C. at noon August 26th – 28th in the McGowan Theater and will make the restored version available for viewing online. Learn more about how we preserved and restored The March in our next post!
The National Archives marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with a featured display of an iconic image from the march, a special program and film screenings of THE MARCH, James Blue’s 1964 film that documents this event.
On this day in history, Warner Brothers’ classic film - the Adventures of Robin Hood - debuted 75 years ago in 1938. It was the most expensive film that Warner Brothers had produced to-date with extravagant sets and costumes, multiple film locations, and the utilization of a new color movie-making process called Technicolor. The Adventures of Robin Hood tells the legendary tale of the Sherwood Forest bandit who fought oppression against a tyrannical government with good-cheer and principled determination. Starring Errol Flynn as Robin Hood and Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian, it became an instant hit and arguably remains the most definitive cinematic version of Robin Hood ever filmed.
The National Archives at Riverside celebrates the 75th anniversary of the movie’s release by showcasing Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland’s naturalization records from Record Group 21 – Records of the U.S. District Courts. Errol Flynn was born in Hobart, Australia in 1909 while Olivia de Havilland was born in Tokyo, Japan to British parents in 1916. The U.S. District Court of Los Angeles granted Flynn and de Havilland U.S. citizenship in the early 1940s. Aside from the Adventures of Robin Hood, Flynn and de Havilland made eight other movies together, including Captain Blood in 1935 and Santa Fe Trail in 1940.
The National Archives at Riverside maintains thousands of naturalization records for foreign-born residents who attained U.S. citizenship in southern California, Arizona, and Clark County, Nevada through the year 1991. For more information on our holdings, please feel free to contact us!
Happy International Dance Day!
Carmencita, Spanish Dance, 03/1894
William Heise, cinematographer. William Dickson, producer. From the Motion Picture Films series of the Thomas Armat Collection
Likely the oldest motion picture in the National Archives’ holdings, this Kinetoscope is one of the first films produced by Edison Studios. (A longer clip is available on the National Archives’ YouTube Channel.)
Sometimes bad things happen to good films.
In this case three feet (or about five seconds in running time) of perforations and about 1/4th of the image area were stripped away on this 16mm original negative.
Matching up the tear is time consuming and requires precise registration. Multiple pieces of tape must be laid down and used to cover the tear only and not the entire image area to avoid introducing air bubbles or other defects that would show up in the image when being transferred.
Razor blades are used to pick up the ends of Mylar tape to avoid getting fingerprints, lint, or other debris transferred onto the tape as the repairs are being made. The blades are also used to make clean cuts where the tape will be laid down along the frame line so that the breaks don’t appear in the footage. White paper tape is used to keep the film from sliding around during the repair work and doesn’t leave any residue on the film or harm it.
The repair is then reinforced on the back and the tape is excised from the perforations.
Et Voila! The film is now repaired and we can move on to the rest of the preservation process. We’ll be creating a new print of this film so that the public can work with one of our vendors to receive the copies for their particular needs.
Guess what the Oscar winning historic figures pictured have in common with the Red Cross collection at the National Archives? Keep reading for the answers.
Seen in the photos are Captian Jack Sparrow from the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean, the gendarme from Scorsese’s 2011 film Hugo Cabret, and three characters from movies made in 2012: Les Miserables, Anna Karinina, and Spielberg’s Lincoln. The next photo shows a straw hat which belonged to “Dottie” a member of the American National Red Cross. What do the hats all have in common? Most curious, don’t you think?
During preparation procedures for housing and conserving the Red Cross hats, one of the first items we examine is information in the label. The label in this ladies hand-made straw hat with a silk ribbon and bow identifies it as being made by Ditta Pieroni Bruno s.n.c. in Rome and includes an address and telephone number.
Research revealed that the Ditta Peroni Bruno company was founded around the time of WWII and originally made hats for the Italian military. After the war they moved into the costume business for stage and screen and are still making beautiful hand made period costumes, including hats, armour, breastplates and gloves. The hats and gloves in Hugo’s, Jack Sparrow’s pirate hat, Lincoln’s top hat, and Dottie’s straw hat were all hand made by the same Italian company, Ditta Pieroni Bruno.
This is only the beginning of our research because previously we had mis-identified this hat as part of Dottie’s WWI clothing, but Ditta Pieroni Bruno wasn’t founded until 1939. Jana Dambrogio and I sent an email with photos to the company and asked if they had clues about its history. Thanks to information provided by Bruno’s son Massimo and Massimo’s wife Stefania Pieroni, we learned that NARA’s Pieroni hat is a replica of an original hat from 1900 made by Bruno Pieroni himself. The Pieroni’s provided this link to the news broadcast featuring an interview on their most recent creations found in many of this year’s Oscar nominated movies. http://mediacenter.dw.de/english/search/hatmaker/
The Pieroni coverage begins at minute 12:00 to 16:50.
Ditta Pieroni Bruno at one time made hats and military uniforms. Since the 1930s the studio changed their name and specialty to movie costumes. Check out their website at: http://www.laboratoriopieroni.it/ to learn about all the movies where one can see their work made for Fellini films to Dick Tracy in the 1990s.
From Perioni’s website it does not appear that they ever had a storefront for Dottie to go shopping. We are left to wonder did Dottie get it second hand and put her name in it? Was she an Italian film star that wore the hat and later moved to the United States and joined the Red Cross? What we do know about the hat is that it is strikingly stylish, made of very finely braided straw and is still in beautiful condition.
- Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Disney Website: http://disney.go.com/pirates/?int_cmp=pir_fran_ChP_redirect_Intl#/gallery/
- Hugo: Recent Movie Posters: http://www.recentmovieposters.com/2011/11/five-french-character-posters-for.html
- Les Miserables: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2012/12/les-miserables-movie-review/60013/
- Kiera Knightley, Vanity Fair: http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2013/01/anna-karenina-costume-designer-oscar-nominations-keira-knightley_slideshow_item1_2#/slide=2
- Lincoln, The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2012/11/spielberg-lincoln-review.html
Free Pre-Screenings of 85th Academy Award® Nominees at the National Archives
The National Archives will host free screenings of the 85th Academy Award® nominees in four categories - Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Live Action Short Film, and Animated Short Film - in its William G. McGowan Theater from Wednesday, February 20, through Sunday, February 24, 2013. This year marks the ninth consecutive year these screenings have been hosted by the National Archives.
Seating for all screenings will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.and subject to availability. See the full schedule of screenings
What are your Oscar picks?
Happy Birthday, Clark Gable! (February 1, 1901 - November 16, 1960)
Here the actor gets a birthday hug from his canine co-star.
On The “Yukon” in “The Call of The Wild” Clark Gable with Dog, Mount Baker National Forest, 1935.
Classics Restored: The Negro Soldier and Let There Be Light, November 7 at Archives I
In honor of Veterans Day, we premiere high-definition versions of two classic World War II–era documentaries, preserved and digitally restored by the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Team.
The Negro Soldier (1944; 43 minutes) was produced by Frank Capra’s Army motion picture unit to help unite white and black troops in the fight against the Axis. Let There Be Light (1946; 58 minutes), commissioned from Academy Award®-winning director John Huston by the U.S. Army Signal Corps, follows the treatment of emotionally traumatized GIs.
The screening will be introduced by Dr. David Culbert, author of Film and Propaganda in America: A Documentary History.
Wednesday, November 7, at 7 p.m. in the McGowan Theater at Archives I.