HOW WAR CAME (1941)
Article 4802 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Paul Fennell
Featuring Raymond Gram Swing and the voice of Mel Blanc
What it is: Animated news short
Through the use of animation, the various events leading to the breakout of World War II are discussed.
This was the first of a very short-lived series of current events shorts produced by Columbia; in fact, I believe only one other was made. It opens with an intro by Raymond Gram Swing and then leads to animated sequences being narrated by him; Mel Blanc is used for a single line of dialogue placed into the mouth of an animated Hitler. Normally, animated movies and shorts usually fit easily into the realm of fantastic cinema, and most of them do. However, this is one that I feel does not qualify, as the style is scrupulously realistic (no animal narrators, for example). On its own terms, it has its uses; it does give a nice quick summary of the aggression from Japan, Italy and Germany that led to the war. It is a bit awkward in presentation, though; Swing is noticeably reading his lines off of a paper on his desk, and he’s a little condescending in his tone at times. Maybe that’s one of the reasons the series was short-lived.