Archive for: WWII

Bing Crosby’s WWII Legacy

  • December 3, 2014
  • Television
  • Comments Off on Bing Crosby’s WWII Legacy

800_white_christmas_blu-ray_subs copy

During World War II (and for several years after), Bing Crosby was just about the biggest popular entertainer the USA has ever known: he was the #1 actor at the movie box office, the #1 recording artist in the world and the hosted the top-rated radio show in America. It’s like he was peak Tom Cruise, peak Michael Jackson and peak Johnny Carson all at the same time.

A big reason for that success was the song “White Christmas,” a throwaway tune from the 1942 movie Holiday Inn that became the biggest record of all time and a poignant reminder of home for millions of troops stationed overseas during World War II. People remember Bing’s movie partner Bob Hope for his tours to entertain the troops, but no one did more than Crosby to promote the war effort in the Forties.

There are a flood of new releases that might help revive Crosby’s reputation, including American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered, a new documentary airing this week on PBS and available on DVD and White Christmas: Diamond Anniversary Edition, an elaborate Blu-ray/DVD reissue of the 1954 movie inspired by the song’s popularity with the troops. +Continue Reading

Remembering Louis Zamperini for Veterans Day

Louis Zamperini at Midland Army Airfield, 1941

Each year, the American Legion Magazine publishes a list of America’s Most Beloved Veterans. The name most likely to be added to that list in 2015 is Louis Zamperini, the former Olympic athlete who survived incarceration in a Japanese POW camp after enlisting in the Army Air Corps. His inspirational story was chronicled in Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 bestseller Unbroken and that book is now the basis for a new movie directed by Angelina Jolie. +Continue Reading

‘Fury’ Visits Fort Benning

"Fury" - Fort Benning Georgia Special Screening

Fury director David Ayer and cast members Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman and Michael Peña paid a visit to Fort Benning on October 16th to show the film to soldiers stationed there.  It was a beautiful day in Columbus, GA and the Army laid out an impressive tank display. +Continue Reading

The Complete Tanks of ‘Fury’

  • October 2, 2014
  • Movies
  • Comments Off on The Complete Tanks of ‘Fury’

Fury, the long-awaited World War II tank movie starring Brad Pitt, opens on Friday October 17. Our set visit last fall suggests that the filmmakers are aiming for a level of accurate detail that we haven’t seen before in a WWII movie.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been running a series of infographics about the real tanks used by Allied and Axis powers during the war and today we’ve got all eight tanks in a full-size slideshow with images large enough to use as wallpaper on most laptops.

Set in the final days of the European conflict in April 1945, the film follows a Sherman tank and her crew on a mission behind enemy lines and stars Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal as the tank’s crew. Director David Ayer wrote and directed the acclaimed LAPD movie End of Watch, directed Sabotage and wrote the screenplay for Training Day.

Tanks of ‘Fury’ #8: Tiger II

tanksoffurytigerii550

The final tank in our series is the Tiger II, which was anticipated to be something like Germany’s Second Death Star after the fearsome Tiger I. That didn’t really work out for the Nazis, because the Tiger II’s underpowered engine and excessive fuel use limited its effectiveness. The 150K lb. monster was 33 ft. 9 in. long and 10 ft. 2 in. tall. It featured an 88m gun and 2 7.92mm machine guns. The Germans deployed the tank on all fronts: Europe, the USSR and North Africa. +Continue Reading

Tanks of ‘Fury’ #7: M24 Chaffee

  • September 23, 2014
  • Movies
  • Comments Off on Tanks of ‘Fury’ #7: M24 Chaffee

tanksoffurym24chaffee

The M24 Chaffee is the final Allied tank in our series from the upcoming movie Fury. Weighing approximately 45,000 lbs. and measuring 18 ft. 3 in. long and 9 ft. 6 in. tall, the lightweight tank featured advanced off-road capability and reliable performance. The 75mm gun represented a significant upgrade from the old 37mm and could to a lot more damage to heavyweight German tanks. The five-man crew also had 2 .30 Browning machine guns at its disposal. The M24 Chaffee was used in both Europe and the Pacific theater.

+Continue Reading

Tanks of ‘Fury’ #6: Tiger I

  • September 18, 2014
  • Movies
  • Comments Off on Tanks of ‘Fury’ #6: Tiger I

tanksoffurytigeri

The Germans used the Tiger I tank on the North African, Soviet and European fronts. Weighing a massive 120,000 lbs. and measuring 27 ft 9 in. long by 9 ft 10 in. tall, this heavy tank struck fear in its enemies. It was expensive to maintain and operate, leading to its replacement by the Tiger II in 1944. Its main armament was a 88mm gun backed up by two 7.92mm machine guns.

+Continue Reading

Tanks of ‘Fury’ #5: M3 Grant/Lee

  • September 16, 2014
  • Movies
  • Comments Off on Tanks of ‘Fury’ #5: M3 Grant/Lee

tanksoffurym3grantlee550

The M3 Grant/Lee is the latest in our series of WWII tanks from Fury. Used by the Allies in the European, North African and Pacific theaters, the tank was 18 ft. 6 in. long and 10 ft, 3 in. tall and weighed in at 12 tons. There were two main armaments, a 75mm gun and  a 37mm gun, along with 4 .30 Browning machine guns. While the tank provided above-average protection to its crew, the M3 Grant/Lee did not perform well off-road and was replaced by the M4 Sherman. +Continue Reading

Director John Ealer Talks ‘The World Wars’

worldwarsno1

The History Channel’s 4 1/2 documentary film The World Wars is out now on Blu-ray and DVD with a wealth of added in-depth profiles, documentary featurettes and deleted scenes. The series connects the two 2oth-century conflicts by focusing on the personal stories of key WWII players like Hitler, Churchill, Mussolini, Patton and FDR, asserting that it was their experiences during the Great War that influenced their decisions in the latter era.

The series uses extensive reenactment of events from World War I (along with some reenactments of WWII events) and has two actors play younger and older versions of its main characters. The approach is novel enough to keep the interest of viewers who’ve seen dozens of documentaries on the topic, but it’s really a great starting point for anyone who doesn’t know much about 20th century history.

Director John Ealer talked to Military​.com about the series. +Continue Reading

Tanks of ‘Fury’ #4: Panzer IV

tanksoffurypanzeriv

The Panzer IV is the latest in our  Tanks of Fury series. The Germans used the sturdy and reliable vehicle on the European, Soviet and North African fronts. Its main armament was a 75mm gun and it also came with two 7.92mm machine guns on board. The tank weighed over 50,000 pounds and measured 23 ft. long by 8 ft. 10 in. tall. By the end of the war, half of the tanks still in service were Panzer IVs.

+Continue Reading