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  • Warning: Spoilers
    "My Country 'Tis of Thee" (named after a famous song that's perhaps the highlight of the entire thing) is an Oscar-nominated documentary film from 1950 that runs for 20 minutes and is partially in color, which should not be taken for granted for a film this old. There is a pretty clean structure in here: The first 10 minutes are about everything before the 20th century (Civil War, Lincoln, Pilgrims...) and the second half is about the three defining wars since 1900. Of course there wasn't a whole lot to say yet about the Cold War back in 1950, so I am fine with them just rushing it in in one minute at the very end, but the did the same with World War I, which is a bit disappointing in my opinion as all the focus is really on World War II, not too surprising though with how much it was still on people's minds. And with the way, the narrator talks enthusiastically about bombs raining down on Germany and also with what happened in Japan back then, it feels kinda wrong, completely aside from the fact that war should never really result in exaggerated joy, even if you are the winner. So yes, this one is certainly walking on the edge in terms of how acceptable it is with its contents and sometimes it's crossing the border of acceptable patriotism and turning into a rejectable propaganda piece. The first half did not interest me too much for personal preferences and the second did, but was rather shallow in its execution. Glad to see it lost the Oscar to Disney's take on beavers. Don't watch.
  • This short, composed of stock footage in Technicolor, is a very brief narrative of the history of the USA from the landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock in 1620 (note the Pilgrims stepping on the rock!) to the formal Japanese surrender at the end of World war II on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay (2 September 1945). Its obvious purpose is patriotism: both to review what made America great and to note her victories in six wars. Actually what made the USA superior was abundant resources, hard work, geographic location, and immigration. This nationalistic film will come to no surprise to anyone who has watched Hollywood shorts and newsreels from the 1920s through the 1940s. The USA was flush with a victory in the most damaging war in history; thus the movie's ending message is that our land, sea, and air defenses stand ready to defend the nation against the latest threat (the USSR and China).

    Famous historical American personages are duly mentioned, like George Washington, John Hancock, Betsy Ross, Abe Lincoln, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and especially the winning generals of the Second World War. It should be noted that the intention of the film is NOT to list negatives, viz., that not all Americans were then getting all of society's benefits. Even so, one might add that, this being America, the situation has long since changed. Although haters of most things American will despise the film, it is nevertheless of historical significance.
  • This Oscar-nominated 20-minute short (also included on the CAPTAIN HORATIO HORNBLOWER [1951] DVD) is basically a crash-course in American history – from the days of the pilgrims through the acquisition of Independence, the Western expansion, the Civil War, and going up till the then-recent two World Wars. Needless to say, it has a strong propagandist feeling – generally depicting the American people as industrious and upholders of justice (opting, for obvious reasons, to by-pass such despicable social scourges as gangsterism and racial hatred), while constantly namedropping famous figures which have left their mark in the country’s development from a British colony to supreme world-power over the centuries. Mind you, it’s all quite interesting (though there was little even I wasn’t familiar with) and certainly entertainingly deployed; incidentally, given that the film is mostly made-up of stock footage (even the ‘staged’ scenes), no directorial credit has been attached to it!
  • Nog30 April 2012
    Even given that this was produced in 1950 during the Cold War, this short film is egregious propaganda. It relates our history in terms that invite a comparison with Nazi spin. One would think that the citizens of the USA were some master race. The Indians "moved westward" after their conflicts with the white settlers. The quick look at the Civil War does not even mention slavery. What we're given here is a version of American History that has no relation to reality. Scary stuff. I can heartily recommend this to students of history who want to research the McCarthy era, with its Communist paranoia -- perhaps this is an attempt by Hollywood to fend off the witch hunt and the subsequent blacklisting of many writers and directors.
  • get15210 March 2007
    I just saw this short on the "Horatio Hornblower" DVD. I have to say this is a great short history lesson about the United States.

    They should show this to school children today. I must see to fuel your love of country.

    I would hate to see how todays Hollywood would take this short and make it into a "see how bad we are and were" video.

    Please clean this gem up. You can see the film pop and skip. A good cleaning would make this look fantastic.

    The disclaimer at the start is crazy. Why make apologies for the way they lived or thought at that time. Nothing is this short is in anyway offensive unless the viewer wants to hate America.
  • Just watched this little short on TMC. It certainly IS a little piece of propaganda and it looks just silly now. Since I was born in 1947, I grew up in the post WWII era in which this idea of patriotism was heavily promoted -- U.S. is greatest country in the history of the world and does no wrong. Any film has to be viewed in the context of its own time. We had just been the victors of the greatest war in the history of the world and most everyone had a son, father, brother, uncle who went to war, many sacrifices were also made at home & veterans had returned home. We were proud and united. The "Red Scare" was swinging into full gear and, of course, the atom bomb hung like a menacing storm cloud in the background of daily living. I agree with most other reviewers -- this makes little attempt to give an accurate historical account and, of course, that wasn't the objective. It's just a little slice of Americana. Rated a 3 not 0 for giving insight into that era.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This Oscar-nominated short film is given the self-righteous treatment at the advent of the Cold War. The film gives a brief look at important highlights of American History minus the uncomfortable parts, such as the bloodshed it took to win independence, the displacement of American Indians from independence to westward expansion, the issue of slavery during the Civil War, the Holocaust, and the many periods of ethnic discrimination occurring along with major events. For instance, there was exploitation of Asians for manual labor during the transcontinental railroad construction. Both the look and the tone of the film, without the unpleasant aspects of history which accompanied major events, gives this film all the credibility of a propaganda film. Regardless of its intent, the presentation of historical subject matter should always have more balance than what is presented in this film. A superficial flag-waver of its era. **1/2 of 4 stars.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I first saw this short film on the DVD of the 1951 Captain Horatio Hornblower starring Gregory Peck. And that fictional film had more accurate history than this ludicrous short subject.

    My Country Tis Of Thee is for the social retards who hate real history and prefer that America's past be rendered in semi-literate bursts of myth, unearned patriotism and religious faith.

    Yes, the film alludes to real things that happened, there was a US Civil War, a War of 1812, Abe Lincoln was the president at one time, America did fight in WWII etc. But the time frame for these events is often jumbled and key points are missed, for example, there is no mention of our most important WWII ally, the Soviet Union.

    The Cold War notwithstanding, even for 1950, this was unforgivable.

    The treatment of the Native Americans is laughable, even for the time period. Only a loon, a tea bagger or Glenn Beck would find this short film watchable and I would only show it to kids as punishment and only then if there was a real historian nearby to clear up the falsehoods and fantastic errors.

    Like, the film says the atom bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki were launched from Okinawa. Huh? It was the island of Tinian. Everyone knows this, even in 1950 they knew it. If My Country Tis Of Thee gets this simple easily verifiable facts wrong, what else does it get wrong?

    Too much to even count as it turns out. You help no one by promoting historical trash as truth. Especially when the real story of America is so enthralling, so captivating, so inspiring, why embellish it with falsehoods, lies and untruths?

    America overcoming its errors and former wrong ways has made us a stronger nation, a more just nation, a better nation; there is no reason to be ashamed of that.

    Denying those truths is the real crime.

    You don't prove your love for the USA by lying about it, or by denying our faults. In fact, our openness in talking about them and dealing with them IS one of the things that makes America the great country we are.
  • My Country 'Tis of Thee (1950)

    *** (out of 4)

    Oscar-nominated Technicolor short from Warner takes a look at various historical events in America's history including all the wars fought up to 1950, the landing of the Pilgrams, the Indians moving out West, the Star Spangle Banner being written and various other things. MY COUNTRY 'TIS OF THEE isn't a complete winner but I think history buffs should get a few kicks out of it. I'd also add that this here would probably be a great short to show young kids because you get a pretty quick look at the various historical things for America but I'm sure this being in color would help hold their interests as well. I thought for the most part this was entertaining, although I'm sure history buffs might object to a few of the things including how "kindly" the Indians moving was when in fact they were treated quite unfair. I'm sure many people would laugh over the reasonings behind the Civil War here. Obviously certain things have been toned down but overall the short is still worth viewing.
  • There's nothing terribly original in My Country Tis Of Thee, it's a compilation of newsreel footage and footage from previous Warner Brothers productions and it tells the story of America that a member of today's Tea Party would find admirable. The film was done in the time of the Cold War and something like this could never be produced today. Frankly it's quite mediocre.

    But what floored me was that this film got a nomination for Best Short Subject. That says a lot about the times of the Cold War and what was the start of the blacklisting era. My guess is that they were afraid not to nominate this thing. The competition was Beaver Valley a Walt Disney True Life nature film and a documentary of super senior citizen painter Grandma Moses. The Beavers took home the Oscar gold.

    I've not seen either of the other films but I'm betting they're far more worthy of Oscar consideration than this was.