This film is part of Free
Thumbs Up Texas!
Ten-gallon hats, a rich history, endless oil-fields, vast herds of cattle, and a giant statue of Popeye: in Texas size really does matter.
This enthusiastic appraisal of the Lone Star state begins with a wry look at the 1941 ‘invasion’ of Washington DC by Texans. They are seen here arriving en masse to join the swelling ranks of armed forces and civilians in the nation’s capital. By poking gentle fun at the Texan character but also emphasising the state’s huge contribution as America prepares for war, this morale-boosting film manages to have its cake - or steak - and eat it.
Although America did not enter the Second World War until December 1941, by August of that year preparations were well under way for a conflict which seemed inevitable to all but the most ardent isolationist. The opening shots of Washington DC give a real sense of the nation’s capital in a frenzy of preparation and footage of prominent Texans, such as Admiral Chester Nimitz, is highlighted. The film’s middle section parades images of Texas - the Alamo, rodeos and cattle - which, although familiar to the point of cliche, deliberately foreground a history of conflict and struggle so that we understand why young Texans are joining the armed forces in greater proportion than any other state in the union.