Tulips Shall Grow (1942)
Article 6006 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by George Pal
Featuring the voices of Rex Ingram and Victor Jory
What it is: Wartime propaganda
A Dutch boy and girl sing and frolic in their tulip-filled windmill wonderland, until…
Don’t be thrown off by the cheery whimsy of the first couple of minutes in this short, because after that, things get quite dark quickly. After all, it was made during WWII and the Nazis had occupied the Netherlands, and the scenes of this little wonderland being destroyed are a bit shocking. The fantastic content consists off how the Nazis are portrayed in this film; instead of using the usual symbols, the attackers are portrayed as inhuman machines; they are called the Screwballs, and their presence adds touches of science fiction to the mix. It’s actually a fairly powerful metaphor that the invaders are defeated by the lightning and rain of a thunderstorm; rain is a life-giving substance for what is living, but rusts and corrodes the metallic intruders. The ending scene is life-affirming. Yes, it may be wartime propaganda, but that’s not necessarily a negative thing when the message is inspirational, as it is here. Very well done.