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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Chuck Jones "Private Snafu: Spies" (1943)

Private Snafu: Spies is a classic wartime propaganda movie shown only to soldiers. Private Snafu is due to sail to Africa at 4.30 but of course his lips are sealed. Which is just as well because there are enemy spies everywhere. Voice by Mel Blanc and directed by Chuck Jones, the movie is snappily written in rhyming couplets, as the witless soldier proceeds to break all his declared vows in jaunty fashion. It commences with just one tip to mother, going downhill fast when alcohol and a blonde bombshell loosen all his inhibitions. The YouTuber, , not only provides expert narrative but has also restored the film to its present fine condition. He is right to point out the racial stereotyping of the German, Japanese and Italian spies, but I have seen far worse in material created at the time. There was a series of such films made from 1943-5. They were evidently popular and successful. Modern viewers will find this a fascinating and entertaining cartoon, not just a historical exercise.

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