This film is part of Free

Belgium’s Neutrality

The ethics of American college football; a controversial plan to build a seaway to the Atlantic, and a proto-Nazi political party’s influence over King Leopold III of Belgium.

Anthology 1936 19 mins


Acrobatic male cheerleaders, angry New Orleans businessmen and rabble-rousing Belgians make for a heady blend of stories in this three issue film. A look at the shady business ethics of college football is followed by an examination of the pros and cons of a plan to build a seaway from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic. Finally, as Hitler reoccupies the Rhineland, violence erupts on the streets of Belgium as the Rexist Party tries to influence the foreign policy of King Leopold.

This issue displays the distinctive characteristics which came to define the series, from witty reconstructions, such as the college football star’s ‘job’ winding a clock, to the skilful blend of maps, diagrams, and documentary footage in the St Lawrence seaway story, which turns the unpromising subject of canal construction into a snappily compelling vignette on American power politics. This issue also features the series’ odd syntactical style, lifted from its sister publication, Time magazine and parodied by the New Yorker: ‘Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind!’. A classic example can be seen in an intertitle for the final story: ‘No job for a weakling is the stewardship of Belgium!’