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Senses of Cinema (2009) - Alfred Hitchcock and The Fighting Generation




Alfred Hitchcock and The Fighting Generation

by Alain Kerzoncuf

The Fighting Generation (1944) is probably one of the last Hitchcockian opuses still to be uncovered, if we accept that productions such as The Mountain Eagle and An Elastic Affair have been lost forever.

This extremely short propaganda film, produced to promote the sale of War Bonds, has been held at the Academy Film Archive in Los Angeles since the end of World War II.

The film actually came into the Margaret Herrick Library during the war as part of the Academy’s mission to collect films. At that time, there was no Academy Film Archive, but its war film collection can actually be traced to that period.

Shot at the David O. Selznick Studios in a single day by Alfred Hitchcock on Monday, 9 October 1944, the film features a young nurse’s aide, played by Jennifer Jones, reciting a monologue written by Stephen Longstreet:

“He’s asleep now. His name is Johnny. Private First Class, badly wounded on Saipan. As a nurse’s aide, I see many cases like this. Most of them are strangers to me. But Johnny, well, we were kids together. Johnny took me to my first (high school) dance, and knowing Johnny, I feel I know all the boys here. You see, they’re my generation, part of my world, my fun, my hopes. Someday all the boys and girls will come back home. No, not all of them. But those that do, you can help bring them back sooner by buying a share of their faith in victory. By buying a War Bond. You know, they used to talk about the lost generation....

(c) Alain Kerzoncuf, Senses of Cinema