Anarchy, U.S.A.

104. ANARCHY, U.S.A. (1966-USA). Whenever they get around to giving an award for Most Blatant Racist Propaganda Movie of All Time, this one will be a prime contender. Its premise is that “the Civil Rights Movement is part of a world-wide movement organized by the Communists to enslave mankind.” Apparently made in reaction to the widespread rioting and destruction of 1964-65, the film dwells on images of chaos and violenceÑeven using a sequence of a black religious service as an example of their anarchic behavior! Employing newsreel footage, photos (some of which appear to be doctored), maps, quotes, and heavy-handed narration, it traces the methods used by Communists to take over China, Cuba and Algeria, then attempts to demonstrate how the exact same tactics have been used by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. The film periodically returns to interviews with two blacks who had been Reds (one allegedly trained in Moscow!), but who now see the errors of their ways. The narrator informs us that anyone who had anything to do with Civil Rights was either a dupe (JFK, LBJ) or a Commie (Martin Luther King), and that any step taken by “the so-called downtrodden and oppressed” was a Communist plot. (The 1965 Voting Rights Bill is characterized as “still another vicious legislative step toward tyranny.”) The conclusion: we should be on our guard to protect “our glorious and humane civilization” from Communist subjugation, and especially from the establishment of a “Soviet Negro Republic.” It’s hard to imagine anyone taking this stuff seriously; in fact, if it weren’t so thoroughly vile, it woufd merely be hilarious. In any case, it’s definitely worth looking at, as a fascinaiing example of cunning “message” filmmaking from somewhere to the Right of Attila the Hun. 78 minutes. Propaganda