26 May 2004
Based on a theme
The now-forgotten motion picture Celsius 127 premiered nearly sixty years ago, during a time when the Allies seemed to be hopelessly bogged down in their quest to put an end to the Axis plans for world domination. Billed as a documentary, Celsius 127 was actually more of a polemic, an attempt to whip up anti-American sentiment by suggesting that the President had deliberately misled the public about his desire to keep the nation out of what had started out as a purely European war, and following up that suggestion with edited newsreel footage of the most unfortunate occurrences during that war. The film's regard for truth is exceeded only by... well, just about everything, actually.
Greg Hlatky, not only a wiser man than I but a better film critic as well, has the details of this bilious little artifact. Fortunately, we live in more enlightened times; a blatant propaganda piece like Celsius 127 could never be made today.