Know Your Enemy--Japan
This is one of the last films made by Frank Capra's special service unit, and was intended to acquaint the American soldier with the fighting characteristics of his Japanese counterpart. An attempt to explore the reasons for Japan's rise as a belligerent world power, it is a stunning tour de force of virtually all the techniques of the Why We Fight series. Less word-dominated than any of the other Capra films, Know Your Enemy--Japan relies heavily on image and sound to communicate its message. A magnificently edited sequence joins shots of Japanese soldiers and civilians preparing for war with the repeated image of a steel bar being relentlessly hammered in a forge. The effect is that of a sinister and strangely compelling ballet created entirely on the editing bench. Clips from Japanese samurai films of the 1930s lend a brooding visual beauty unique among propaganda films of the period. Students of Japanese history and culture will undoubtedly take exception to many ideas promulgated in the film. While Japanese soldiers are perceived as prints of the same negative, it should be noted in fairness that such views were almost universally held by Americans at that time. The abrupt cessation of the War in the Pacific resulted in the hasty withdrawal of this film and it was never widely seen. Thus we are pleased to offer this film to the public at this time. Narrated by John Huston.
USA, 1945, B&W, 63 minutes.
NTSC Region 0 encoding (Entire World)