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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Director John Ford's WWII movies How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines and Sex Hygiene

During World War II, director John Ford (wiki) worked* as chief of the Field Photographic Branch of the OSS, the intelligence agency that preceded the CIA (wiki). 

John Ford (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973) was an American film director. He is renowned both for Westerns such as Stagecoach (1939), The Searchers (1956), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), as well as adaptations of classic 20th-century American novels such as the film The Grapes of Wrath (1940). His four Academy Awards for Best Director (in 1935, 1940, 1941, and 1952) remain a record. One of the films for which he won the award, How Green Was My Valley, also won Best Picture.
Some of Ford’s wartime movies were exclusively for OSS consumption, such as 1943’s How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines, a/k/a Undercover, an instructional film about how to be a spy. Like most movies of its kind, it teaches by illustrating dos and don’ts—Ford appears in the only speaking role of his career as the pipe-smoking case officer assigned to the “don’t” agent—and lays heavy emphasis on a single lesson, here the supreme importance of maintaining a believable cover story. Agonizing sequences depict spies blowing their cover through inattention to detail: anything from paying the bar tab with bills no longer in circulation to using “hair grease” they can’t get in Enemytown since hostilities began.

I'm going to call this one NSFW because I can't imagine an employer would want it played at work:

When he went on active duty, Ford had already directed 1941’s Sex Hygiene, an Army training film with tips for avoiding the clap and syphilis while on leave (“I looked at it and threw up,” was the review Ford later gave Peter Bogdanovich). Youtube comment:
Several servicemen relax by playing pool, but one of them goes off to spend time with a prostitute. Later, he discovers he has contracted a venereal disease. A graphic and frank presentation of the types and treatment of venereal disease follows.

The CIA's page on John Ford's war movies.

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