A City at War: Chicago Film Screening
Just prior to America’s involvement in World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) called on the country to become “an arsenal of democracy,” to start producing war material to help defeat the Axis powers. Through first-hand accounts, declassified films, and period images, A City at War: Chicago explores how the Windy City answered that call, and how a friendship between FDR and Chicago mayor Ed Kelly helped to set everything in motion. The film, narrated by journalist Bill Kurtis, reveals how Chicago was transformed into a well-oiled production machine, with every racial, ethnic and religious group and every man, woman and child mobilizing to support the war effort.
Highlights of the film include rare footage of FDR’s 1937 “Quarantine Speech,” delivered in Chicago, that warned of the coming war; Nobel Prize winning physicist Enrico Fermi creating the first self-sustaining nuclear chain-reaction at the University of Chicago leading to the development of the atomic bomb; the formation of P.K. Wrigley’s All-American Girls Professional Baseball League; the capture of a Nazi spy from Chicago; the mob’s exploitation of servicemen using prostitution and gambling; and interviews with Japanese-American internment and German POW camp survivors.
A City at War: Chicago is a co-production with WTTW Chicago and was underwritten exclusively by the Chicago Marine Heritage Society and its chairman, Captain Dave Truitt.
John Davies, Executive Producer/Writer/Director, is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker who has created series, specials and documentaries for almost every major network and cable outlet, including NBC, ABC, ESPN and FOX. His SHOWTIME documentary Phunny Business was hailed as “one of the best documentaries of 2012” by film critic Roger Ebert.
Brian Kallies, Co-Executive Producer/Editor/Director of Photography, is an independent filmmaker who has produced, edited and directed numerous documentaries, specials and series, including Everglades of the North (2012), which inspired a national wildlife preserve.