This film is part of Free
Men of the US Navy
Your navy needs you! This film was made to appeal to young Americans’ sense of duty and patriotism, while promising an exciting life at sea at a critical point in the Second World War.
An opening montage showing stricken vessels and shipyards working at full stretch sums up the critical state of the US Navy six months after Pearl Harbour. An appeal to camera by Admiral Ernest J. King is followed by a sequence showing the variety of careers available to the young naval recruit. From gunner, medic and photographer, to torpedo expert, machinist and nurse, the film’s appeal is based on a very American mixture of patriotism and the drive for self-fulfillment.
Essentially a recruitment film, this March of Time issue should be seen in the context of the times. In the first six months of the war, the US Navy had suffered more losses than in the whole of World War I and, given the desperate need for new recruits, it is understandable that the film emphasises the exciting careers on offer, while underplaying the dangers of war at sea. Nonetheless the lengthy sequence which promises the best medical care, is there partly to assuage the fears of new recruits but also reflects March of Time’s characteristic interest in the progress of science: the latest treatments are revealed to the viewer in shots of operating theatres, gleaming new sick bays, plasma banks, X-Ray machines and sulfa drugs.