Way back when I did my Disney Animated Movies blogathon, I mostly looked at each of the 56 movies one blog post at a time. But there were five movies I lumped together in one post – the five movies that began production during World War 2. If I decided to look at these associated movies for the same blogathon, I would have lumped this one in as well.
The background for this particular movie is actually more interesting than the movie itself, at least for today’s audience. It’s based on a book by the same name, written by Alexander P. de Seversky, who was a Russian/American pioneer in aviation war technology and an advocate for strategic air power. Walt Disney read the book and decided it was too important a book to pass up, and personally financed the film adaptation. The goal of the film was to spread Seversky’s politics to the general public, basically turning Disney Animation Studios into a propaganda department for a couple of years.
The interesting thing is, despite Disney’s success with then distributor RKO Radio Pictures, they refused to release it. Even though Disney Animation Studios created the film, it was actually released by United Artists instead. That makes this the only Disney produced feature to ever be released by another company (United Artists did distribute a lot of Disney’s shorts in the 20’s though). This movie also kick started Disney’s educational films run, of which they’ve made plenty since to be shown in schools, military and even factory training for a couple of decades. Other war related shorts Disney made around the time included Donald Gets Drafted, Education For Death, and Der Fuhrer’s Face. Many of these shorts reused some of the animated footage built for Victory Through Air Power.
As for the movie itself, it lies somewhere between educational information on advancements in airplane technology and propaganda. That’s all there is to say about this as a movie. It’s mildly interesting at times, but it feels dated. The propaganda angle on this movie also makes the educational material feel forced at times. It’s not necessarily badly made, but it feels dated. For modern audiences, it would be much more interesting to watch retrospective looks at the evolution of airplane technology than watching this. In other words, I wouldn’t recommend this.
Next up is Song of the South. It’s got a reputation of being, uh … problematic. There’s a part of me that’s looking forward to seeing if it’s really as bad as its reputation suggests, but I’m also kind of terrified. After that it’s So Dear My Heart, followed by the classic, Marry Poppins. I haven’t seen Mary Poppins in at least 20 years – possibly more. I’m definitely looking forward to finally re-watching it.