Ramparts We Watch, The

2737. THE RAMPARTS WE WATCH (1940-USA). Produced and directed by LOUIS DE ROCHEMONT, narrated by WESTBROOK VAN VOORHIS. This “saga of modern America” was a production of “The March Of Time,” a monthly screen magazine which was inaugurated in 1935 and brought the news of the world to American movie screens. The purpose of the film was to prepare Americans for “what may be the greatest crisis in the nation’s history” if they were to find themselves drawn into the European conflict. This is accomplished by reflecting on an America of a quarter-century earlier and telling the story of the nation and its achievements and failures as it lived through the fateful years just prior to American entry into World War I. Back in 1914, the United Stales was at peace. Americans gave little heed to news outside their community and outside their nation. However, a war was brewing in Europe. At first America embraced neutrality, but we could not ignore the horrific events unfolding on the battlefields. Soon, all of the country’s citizens were taking sides and arguing the merits of neutrality versus involvement. President Wilson finally declared war against the Hun, and the nation mobilized and went off to war. All of this is told via dramatized vignettes which movingly tell the story of the various inhabitants of one typical New England community (New London, Connecticut). These scenes are embellished with wonderful and rare period newsreel footage. At the finale are chilling excerpts from a Nazi propaganda film which serves to express Adolph Hitler’s tyrannical determination to rule the world. Back in 1940, well over a year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, this production served as a wake-up call to the nation. Today, it is at once a rousing drama and an invaluable historical document. 97 minutes. Docu-Drama