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USO movies on video

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How did Hollywood stars really rally for the boys? There’s some World War II & history on the video shelves: Performers waited on tables and entertained the troops at the Stage Door Canteen (1943, Kartes) and the Hollywood Canteen (1944, MGM/UA), both immortalizing real-life spots. Stage Door follows a trio of starlets who chastely romance the boys in uniform. Katharine Hepburn’s pep talk is a highlight. Hollywood is a more blatant PR vehicle whose story about a soldier obsessed with Joan Leslie is overshadowed by historical detail about the canteen. Entertaining the Troops (1989, SVS Triumph) is a documentary with real canteen footage that includes stars from Bing and Bob to Bugs — check out the inflamed duet between Eddie ”Rochester” Anderson and a sexy young Lena Horne. Going Hollywood: The War Years (1986, Warner) focuses more on period movies, showing how ”the Japs” had to be played by Chinese-Americans since Japanese-Americans (oops — ”evacuees”) were rounded up in U.S. concentration camps (oops — ”relocation camps”). One clip shows Axis bad guys slapping Our Boys in the face. What red-blooded American wouldn’t rally to the cause?

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