About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for Hollywood Victory: The Movies, Stars, and Stories of World War II

Greetings from the National Archives’ flagship building in Washington, DC, which sits on the ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank peoples. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you tonight’s virtual book discussion about Hollywood Victory: The Movies, Stars, and Stories of World War II, which we are very pleased to present in partnership with Turner Classic Movies.

Tonight we welcome our special guests, Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz and Christian Blauvelt, author of Hollywood Victory.

Before we begin, I’d like to tell you about two other programs you can view this week on our YouTube channel.

On Wednesday, November 3, at 6 p.m., we welcome Steve Roberts, who has written a tribute to the extraordinary life and legacy of his wife, legendary journalist Cokie Roberts, in his new book—Cokie: A Life Well Lived. Steve and Cokie’s daughter, Rebecca Boggs Roberts, will join her father in conversation.

And on Thursday, November 4, at 1 p.m., Philip Bigler, the author of Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, will share the history of the Tomb, which marks its 100th anniversary this year and is America's most cherished and revered military shrine.

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The National Archives preserves more than 520,000 reels of motion picture film, representing well over 150,000 titles and making it one of the largest and most historically rich documentary film collections in the world.

Among those thousand and thousands of reels, World War II films represent the single largest subject area in our moving image holdings. It speaks to the monumental nationwide and government-wide war effort that these films—out of all the subjects in our collections—come from the greatest number of federal agencies.

We acquired World War II and postwar films from federal military and civilian agencies and from private individuals or organizations, as donations. This extensive collection of domestic and foreign films related to World War II covers events, people, and activities in the European, Mediterranean, African, and Pacific Theaters of Operations, as well as the home front and the civilian war effort in the United States.

Tonight we look at Hollywood’s contributions to the war effort. In the Archives you can find Army training films featuring Ronald Reagan, Frank Capra’s Why We Fight series, and newsreels showing war bond drives with Hollywood actresses like Carole Lombard and Hedy Lamar, and stars in uniform such as James Stewart and Clark Gable. Their stories, and much more, are chronicled in Hollywood Victory, so let’s hear about them now.

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Christian Blauvelt is an entertainment journalist who serves as the managing editor of leading film and TV industry website IndieWire. He regularly appears on CBS New York to give previews of upcoming films and awards season analysis; has hosted films on Turner Classic Movies; and has presented at South by Southwest and San Diego Comic-Con. Blauvelt is the author of several books including Cinematic Cities: New York.

Ben Mankiewicz is the primetime host of Turner Classic Movies. When he made his TCM debut in September 2003, he became only the second host hired in the network’s history. During his career at TCM, he has introduced thousands of movies on the air. Additionally, he’s become one of the best interviewers in the business, leading thoughtful and entertaining long-form conversations with more than 200 of the industry’s top talents. Mankiewicz also hosts TCM’s podcast, The Plot Thickens, now in its third season. Since 2019, he has served as a contributor to the Peabody and Emmy-winning news magazine, CBS News Sunday Morning, and has hosted the American Society of Cinematographers Awards since 2018.

Now let’s hear from Christian Blauvelt and Ben Mankiewicz. Thank you for joining us today.