If only the Republican Party still subscribed to these all-American, egalitarian values . . . A few sources say the film was intended to be an anti-racism film after the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces by President Harry Truman, and was not intended for general public viewing. (Is it fair to say this is secret stuff?) The Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) said the film was made in 1943, and reissued by the Defense Department later; good movies stay fresh:
Financed and produced by the United States War Department, and shot at the Warners [Bros.] studio, although it was distributed through all of the major studios’ film exchanges and also by National Screen Services free to the theatre exhibitors: A young, healthy American Free Mason is taken in by the message of a soap-box orator who asserts that all good jobs in the United States are being taken by the so-called minorities, domestic and foreign. He falls into a conversation with a refugee professor who tells him of the pattern of events that brought Hitler to power in Germany and how Germany’s anti-democratic groups split the country into helpless minorities, each hating the other. The professor concludes by pointing out that America is composed of many minorities, but all are united as Americans. (Reissued in 1946 following the end of World War II.) (Written by Les Adams)
From the Department of Defense in 1943 and 1946, “Don’t Be a Sucker,” about 18 minutes:
- “Don’t Be a Sucker” is available for free download in several formats, at the Prelinger Archives/Internet Archives
- The actor playing the professor is Hungarian-born Paul Lucas, who won an Academy Award for his performance in 1943’s Watch on the Rhine
- Narrator of the film is veteran actor Lloyd Nolan
- The role of the Nazi supporter was played by Felix Bressart, who himself had been forced out of Nazi Germany in 1936.
- Contrast this film with Make Mine Freedom, a cartoon from 1948