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Main Street on the March! (1941) Online

Main Street on the March! (1941) Online
Original Title :
Main Street on the March!
Genre :
Movie / Short / History
Year :
Directror :
Edward L. Cahn
Cast :
John Nesbitt,Raymond Gram Swing,Neville Chamberlain
Writer :
Karl Kamb
Type :
Time :
Rating :
Main Street on the March! (1941) Online

The film begins in the spring of 1940, just before the Nazi occupation of the Benelux countries, and ends immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It chronicles how the people of "Main Street America", the country's military forces, and its industrial base were completely transformed when the decision was made to gear up for war. Original footage is interspersed with contemporary newsreels and stock footage.
Cast overview:
John Nesbitt John Nesbitt - Narrator (voice)
Raymond Gram Swing Raymond Gram Swing - Himself (voice) (archive sound)
Neville Chamberlain Neville Chamberlain - Himself (voice) (archive sound)
H.V. Kaltenborn H.V. Kaltenborn - Himself (voice) (archive sound)
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin D. Roosevelt - Himself (archive footage) (as Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
Winston Churchill Winston Churchill - Himself (voice) (archive footage)
George C. Marshall George C. Marshall - Himself (archive footage)
William S. Knudsen William S. Knudsen - Himself (archive footage)
Harold R. Stark Harold R. Stark - Himself (archive footage) (as Admiral Harold R. Stark)

User reviews



Roused from somnambulistic lethargy to defend herself against unspeakable evil, a mighty nation would make foreign tyrants fear the sound of MAIN STREET ON THE MARCH!

Here is a tremendous example of the power of film when expertly crafted. It is also an invaluable video document of the situation in America at one of the supremely pivotal moments of her history. Blending documentary footage with Studio shots, the film quickly paints a snapshot portrait of the country and its moods in the months leading up to active participation in World War Two.

Conceived by MGM as a stern warning against American neutrality in response to the threats of Axis aggression, the film was virtually ready for release when the Japanese Empire made its sneak attack against Hawaii on December 7, 1941. Producer John Nesbitt hastily rewrote & recorded the new narration, without altering the existing music or sound effects. The emotionally stirring result was considered so forceful that MAIN STREET ON THE MARCH! was awarded the Academy Award for best two-reel short subject of 1941.

A sequel, MAIN STREET TODAY, was produced in 1944.

After Pearl Harbor, Hollywood went to war totally against the Axis. Not only did many of the stars join up or do home front service, but the output of the Studios was largely turned to the war effort. The newsreels, of course, brought the latest war news into the neighborhood theater every week. The features showcased battle stories or war related themes. Even the short subjects & cartoons were used as a quick means of spreading Allied propaganda, the boosting of morale or information dissemination. Together, Uncle Sam, the American People & Hollywood proved to be an unbeatable combination.


Main Street on the March! (1941)

** (out of 4)

John Nesbitt narrates this Oscar-winning (Best Short) film about all the "Main Street" locations across America and how they united on the morning of December 7, 1941. The short starts off in 1940 as Americans are learning about the war and how various other countries are falling to Germany. We learn about the attitudes of people and what was being asked of them to help the country. I've seen many of these WWII shorts the past several years and I was a little surprised to learn that this one here won an Oscar. Yes, I'm sure this was quite shocking when originally viewed a few weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack but today the film seems rather rushed. I never really got caught up in any of the actual story as I felt other films did a better job at talking about these events. While watching this short I also kept wondering where exactly it was trying to go as the story goes back and forth a little too much for such a short running time.