Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Joe Smith, American (1942)

TiVo recorded an interesting film from the Robert Young library recently: Joe Smith, American. This flag-waver from 1942 takes you into the life of a Lockheed factory worker who gets kidnapped by Nazi agents. Joe Smith is doing pretty well - has a wife, son & a home. After a mysterious, and rigorous interview by HR and government agents, he gets promoted to the Norden Bombsight department where he's one of a few trusted to install it on bombers. The next thing you know, Joe's being chased by a mysterious car and he's kidnapped.

While Joe is interrogated by the thugs, he thinks to himself, keeping his cool and thinking happy thoughts: meeting his wife, his son's birth, etc. The strongest part of the story is hearing Joe remember the subtleties of his kidnapping: sounds of the car ride, the feel of a hub cap, how many turns the car made, how many stair steps, the ring on someone finger, the scratch on a door, etc. It comes across as a guide for what to do if you're kidnapped and want to catch the bad guys later.

From what I've read, Joe Smith & family were reincarnated for 1950's The Next Voice You Hear. I've seen the movie and vaguely remember the familiarities. Next Voice has a ton of potential: God broadcasts messages over the radio every night at 8 p.m. You really want to get wound up for some sci-fi-ish action with James Whitmore as Joe, but nothing really happens.


la peregrina said...

What do you know, Darryl Hickman played the son! That clip of him reciting the pledge of allegiance with that sort of Nazi salute was a little creepy.

I agree with you about The Next Voice You Hear loosing steam at the end. I've read the short story this movie is based on and it is a lot better. I did like the way they handled God's voice- you never heard it.

Carrie said...

Ha, yeah, I'll second you on the salute part. I remember watching this going "huh."

And who could they pick as God's voice if they had to...

Anonymous said...

I want to buy a copy of this movie...VHS or DVD. Don't really care how, when or where it was recorded, as long as it's complete and good quality. Since the studio hasn't put this out for public purchase, I'll take what I can get. Email: robinsongw@juno.com and we'll get together by phone to round out the details. Thanks a million. George.

BTW, the salute was an American original salute that got messed up by Hitler, just like he messed up the image of the 10,000-year-old Hindu spiritual sign, the swastika. Look it up and learn.