Service on Celluloid is a captivating podcast that takes a deep look at depictions of World War II on film over the last 70-plus years. In-house experts at The National WWII Museum, along with special guests, hold lively debates on the historical merits of treasured classics and smaller films alike. Films highlighted in this series include Fury, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, The Great Escape, and Twelve O’Clock High. This entertaining series examines Hollywood's portrayals—good and bad—of the 20th century’s most dramatic event. Listen and subscribe!
Minisode to Ep. 130: Tune in to this week's minisode to hear the real story behind the construction of the Railway of Death from WWII Navy veterans Howard Brooks (pictured) and Alois Kopp. Listen to see if the movie's depiction of the Burma–Thai railway was accurately portrayed.
Episode 130: The Bridge on the River Kwai won 1958's Academy Awards for Best Picture, along with six other Oscars. Tune in to see if our panel feels that the 1957 British-American epic captured the true history of the construction of the Burma Railway.
Minisode to Ep. 129: In this minisode, we dig deeper into the German invasion of the West in 1940.
Episode 129: This week our panelists dissect the 2015 film April 9th, about a little-known action of the war—the German invasion of Denmark in 1940. Tune in to see if the filmmakers accurately portrayed this brief but dramatic WWII clash.
Minisode to Ep. 128: While The Dirty Dozen is fiction, there were many actual covert operations in World War II. Tune in to hear about some of the real-life stories that inspired the movie.
Episode 128: “Train them! Excite them! Arm them! . . . Then turn them loose on the Nazis!” read a marketing slogan for 1967’s The Dirty Dozen. The Service on Celluloid panel’s mission this week is to explore the real WWII history behind the blockbuster film’s wild story.
Minisode to Ep. 127: In this week’s follow up to our Catch 22 episode, we dive into the realities of the air war over Europe and learn how it was far from glorious.
Episode 127: In 1970, Roger Ebert had some harsh words for the Mike Nichols-directed cinematic version of Joseph Heller's WWII classic: "Catch-22 the movie is essentially a parasite, depending on the novel for its vitality.” Will our panel agree?
Minisode to Ep. 126: In this companion minisode to our discussion of the Home Front melodrama Tender Comrade, we hear firsthand accounts of wartime work from Betty Reid Soskin (California's Kaiser Shipyards) and Rosemary Elfer (Higgins Industries in New Orleans).
Episode 126: A vehicle for Ginger Rogers to inspire patriotism on the Home Front, 1944's Tender Comrade later had unintended consequences for its writer and director. The Service on Celluloid panel explores the stories behind the story.
Minisode to Ep. 125: This week we follow our episode on The Pianist with firsthand accounts from Holocaust survivor and piano prodigy Zhanna Arshanskaya Dawson (pictured).
Episode 125: This week our panel sits down with Sara Abosch-Jacobson from The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum to discuss 2002’s The Pianist starring Adrien Brody as Wladyslaw Szpilman.
Minisode to Ep. 124: This week we hear from veterans Raymond Wells and Joseph Hochadel (pictured) as they recount their experiences at the battles of Monte Cassino and San Pietro, as seen in The Story of G.I. Joe.
Episode 124: General Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to The Story of GI Joe as "the greatest war picture I've ever seen." Will the Service on Celluloid panelists agree?
Minisode to Ep. 123: Following our Service on Celluloid panel’s discussion on the anime classic Grave of the Fireflies, tune in to hear from WWII veterans Paul Dietzel, Richard Baile, and Maynard David (pictured) as they provide their firsthand accounts of the firebombing of Japan.
Episode 123: The firebombing campaign on Japan near the end of World War II was waged with devastating success. In Grave of the Fireflies - considered an amine classic - filmmaker Isao Takahata explores how the bombing affected the civilian population. Join the Service on Celluloid panel for a discussion of the film’s historical accuracy and emotional impact.
Minisode to Ep. 122: After you’ve heard the Service on Celluloid panel’s discussion about the 1977 epic A Bridge Too Far, return to Operation Market Garden on a new minisode featuring WWII veteran eyewitnesses T. Moffatt Burriss and Theo Finkbeiner.
Episode 122: Operation Market Garden, the ill-fated Airborne action of mid-September 1944, is the subject of Richard Attenborough’s star-studded A Bridge Too Far (Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Gene Hackman, Ryan O’Neal, and many more). Critic Roger Ebert wrote that it “went two or even three bridges too far.” Will the Service on Celluloid panel agree?
Minisode to Ep. 121: On this week’s minisode we’ll hear from Harry L. Ettlinger (pictured), who was the inspiration for the Private Sam Epstein character (as portrayed by Dimitri Leonidas) in The Monuments Men. (Image courtesy of the National Museum of American Jewish Military History.)
Episode 121: Based on the research of author Robert M. Edsel, the 2014 film The Monuments Men has a big-name cast (George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, and others) and a gripping true story about rescuing the art treasures of Europe from the Nazis. The Service on Celluloid podcast panel weighs how well it tells that story.
Episode 120: The 1970 satire Kelly's Heroes, starring Clint Eastwood and a large cast of scene bandits (including WWII veteran Don Rickles), looked at World War II through the lens of the Vietnam era. Our Service on Celluloid panel observes that the film gets a surprising number of details just right.
Minisode to Ep. 119: The 1942 drama Mrs. Miniver, subject of the most recent Service on Celluloid podcast, depicts life on the British Home Front during the time of Dunkirk and the Blitz. Tune in to this week's minisode for a deeper dive into these historic events.
Episode 119: Winston Churchill said Mrs. Miniver was “propaganda worth 100 battleships.” Join the Service on Celluloid podcast panelists to explore how the film also provides an insightful look at the lives of those on the British Home Front during World War II.
Minisode to Ep. 118: The Service on Celluloid exploration of Casablanca and its real-life setting continues with the story of Hélène Cazès-Benatar, who founded the Moroccan Refugee Aid Committee in 1940 to help Jewish refugees arriving in Casablanca.
Episode 118: Rick came to Casablanca for the waters. He was misinformed. This week, the Service on Celluloid podcast panel informs your appreciation for Casablanca by exploring the WWII history behind the 1942 Warner Bros. classic.
Minisode to Ep. 117: Following our discussion of Run Silent, Run Deep, hear from Billy Leibold and Jim Allen (pictured) who served in the silent service.
Episode 117: “You have to like submarine pictures to like Run Silent, Run Deep,” wrote "New York Times" film critic Bosley Crowther when the film was released in 1958. Will the Service on Celluloid panelists agree?
Minisode to Ep. 116: Following our panel’s discussion of Sands of Iwo Jima, hear from veterans Dave Severance and James Goodrich (pictured) as they discuss the fighting and famous flag raising on Iwo Jima.
Episode 116: John “The Duke” Wayne landed an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of flawed Marine Sergeant John Stryker in 1949’s Sands of Iwo Jima, but how much does this propagandistic film get right about one of the most iconic battles of World War II? The Service on Celluloid panel knows.
Minisode to Ep. 115: This week’s Service on Celluloid minisode follows on our discussion about 1970’s Patton with oral history visits with two servicemembers—Fred Hirsekorn and Captain Abraham Baum (pictured)—who had memorable encounters with the film’s legendary title character.
Episode 115: The 1970 blockbuster Patton was honored with multiple Academy Awards, including a Best Actor trophy for George C. Scott (who didn’t attend the ceremony to accept), but how true is the film biography to the historical record and to its subject, General George S. Patton?
Minisode to Ep. 114: Following our episode about Empire of the Sun, listen to oral histories from Howard Hart (a civilian internee) and Phillip Schweitzer (who helped liberate Los Baños internment camp).
Episode 114: This week we review Empire of the Sun, a shenanigans-heavy coming-of-age story with artful cinematography and a swelling John Williams score—all the markings of a 1980s Steven Spielberg film—but how accurate is it?
Episode 113: Though World War II takes only a few minutes of screen time in It's a Wonderful Life, the film has many links to the war and wartime America. Listen to learn why the holiday classic is the topic of conversation on a podcast dedicated to screen depictions of World War II.
Minisode to Ep. 112: Following our discussion of A League of Their Own, we will hear from Virginia Hamilton (pictured) describing her WWII reporting about women taking over jobs previously held only by men, then WWII veteran and big-league pitcher Lou Brissie.
Episode 112: This week the panel tackles A League of Their Own, the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Founded by chewing-gum magnate Philip K. Wrigley in 1942, the league was born at a time when male ballplayers were being drafted to serve in World War II. (Photo courtesy of The History Museum South Bend)
Minisode to Ep. 111: Following our conversation about 1943’s Bataan, we hear from Lester Tenney (pictured), Robert Rosendahl, and Glenn Frazier, who experienced the harrowing Bataan Death March.
Episode 111: This week, Service on Celluloid examines the 1943 film Bataan, which focuses on the American and Filipino defensive retreat on the Bataan Peninsula in early 1942. The panel will address what this film does well and what is curiously missing.
Minisode to Ep. 110: Following our discussion of Battleground, we will discuss the lingo showcased in the film and hear from veterans John Pogue, Edward Heffron, and Donald Malarkey (pictured).
Episode 110: This week our panelists discuss the misery, hope, and humor seen in 1949’s Battleground, a tale of the 327th GIR of the famous 101st Airborne Division while it is encircled at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.
Minisode to Ep. 109: Following our conversation about Anthropoid, we take a deeper look this week at the lives and actions of Reinhard Heydrich, a main architect of the Final Solution, and Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, the exile Czechoslovak soldiers who assassinated him.
Episode 109: This week our panelists look at the 2016 film Anthropoid and its depiction of the true story of Operation Anthropoid, code name for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, a main architect of the Final Solution. See what our team thinks of this Jamie Dornan/Cillian Murphy vehicle’s depiction of WWII-era resistance, betrayal, and heroism.
Minisode to Ep. 108: Following our discussion of Tora! Tora! Tora! we venture into territory rarely visited on our Service on Celluloid series—history’s what-ifs. In this minisode, we discuss potential signs that an attack was imminent and the response options that were available. Hear from veterans Don Stratton, Kermit Tyler (pictured), and Sterling Cale, who were all at Pearl Harbor that fateful day.
Episode 108: Roger Ebert opened his review of 1970s’s Tora! Tora! Tora! by calling it “one of the deadest, dullest blockbusters ever made.” Tune in to see how our team of historians and local film critic Mike Scott (NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune) view this classic depiction of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Minisode to Ep. 107: Following our discussion of The Great Escape, hear from veteran Malcolm Higgins (pictured) as he describes how his family learned that he was a POW in Stalag Luft III. Additionally, listen to Colonel Robert Ingraham, who helped dig the tunnels later made famous by the film, reveal how he became part of the breakout team.
Episode 107: This week we look at the often-imitated Steve McQueen hit The Great Escape. It’s certainly drenched in cool, but how accurate is it? Our panelists discuss what life was really like in Stalag Luft III.
Minisode to Ep. 106: Following our discussion of the 2014 Brad Pitt vehicle Fury, tanker John Rogers (pictured) describes attacking Tiger tanks in Normandy. As a bonus, listen to veteran Robert Christie’s poem “The Hunter,” which describes the existential guilt of fighting a defeated but dangerous enemy during the closing days of war.
Episode 106: For this week’s episode, our panel takes on the Brad Pitt vehicle Fury. We will be discussing director David Ayer’s graphic depiction of the 2nd Armored Division during the closing days of World War II in Europe.
Minisode to Ep. 105: Following our conversation about Midway, hear veterans Don Hoff (pictured) and Dusty Kleiss tell what it was like to fly in the Battle of Midway.
Episode 105: This week on the Museum’s new Service on Celluloid podcast, our panel takes aim at Midway, featuring Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, and Hal Holbrook, among others—as well as recycled footage from several previous (and much better) WWII films. Garrett Bradley, a New Orleans-based, Sundance Award-winning film director, joins the discussion.
Minisode to Ep. 104: Following our discussion of Schindler's List, hear Luna Kaufman speak of the horrors she endured as a child in Płaszów concentration camp.
Episode 104: This week our experts evaluate the masterpiece Schindler’s List. Exploring the relationship between businessman Oskar Schindler and SS officer Amon Göth—while memorializing Schindler’s role in saving hundreds of Jews from Nazi death camps. In the episode, we take a deep dive into the film’s depiction of how two men of similar circumstance chose such vastly different paths.
Minisode to Ep. 103: Following our review of Saving Private Ryan, hear from veterans Dr. Hal Baumgarten and Harley Reynolds, who saw firsthand the chaos and carnage of D-Day.
Episode 103: Celebrated WWII epic Saving Private Ryan turns 20 this summer. It remains one of the most famous depictions of World War II to date. Is it true to history? We sought to answer that question on this week’s episode.
Minisode to Ep. 102: Following our review of The Best Years Of Our Lives, hear from veterans Francis Resta and John “J.J.” Witmeyer, who recount the struggles they faced upon returning from World War II.
Episode 102: This week’s episode takes a hard look at The Best Years of Our Lives, the timeless film about veterans and the battles they fight upon returning home. Special Guest: Dr. Marsha Gordon, Professor of Film Studies at North Carolina State University.
Minisode to Ep. 101: Following our review of Twelve O'Clock High, hear from veterans George Roberts, John "Lucky" Luckadoo, and Bob Shoens, who saw firsthand what was happening within the US Army Air Forces during World War II.
Episode 101: Upon seeing the WWII film, Twelve O'Clock High, former US Air Force General and WWII veteran Curtis LeMay reportedly said at the film's premiere that he “didn’t see one technical error in this thing.” Our historians weigh in on whether they agree or not.
Teaser: Service on Celluloid is the official podcast of The National WWII Museum with lively debates around depictions of World War II on film. The first podcast launched on June 20, with new episodes out every Wednesday.
Seth Paridon is the host of Service on Celluloid and Digital Content Manager within The National WWII Museum’s WWII Media and Education Center. He has been tasked with creating historical media utilizing the Museum’s vast collection of oral histories and archival imagery and footage. Seth began his career conducting oral histories and research for HBO’s miniseries The Pacific. He has been a Staff Historian at The National WWII Museum since 2005. In the course of his work at the Museum, Seth and his team increased the oral history collection from 25 to nearly 5,000 oral histories. He served as one of the historians and content team members during the development and construction of US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, Road to Berlin, Road to Tokyo, and The Arsenal of Democracy permanent exhibits, as well as many temporary exhibits.
ROB CITINO, PHD
Robert Citino, PhD, is the Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian at The National WWII Museum. He is an award-winning military historian and scholar who has published 10 books, including his latest, The Wehrmacht's Last Stand: The German Campaigns of 1944-1945. He speaks widely and contributes regularly to general readership magazines such as World War II. Dr. Citino enjoys close ties with the US military establishment, and taught one year at the US Military Academy at West Point and two years at the US Army War College.