Frank Capra at his desk in the war department
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How Hollywood directors became part of the US war effort in World War II

During World War II, some of Hollywood's most accomplished directors left at the height of their careers to join the US armed forces.

They weren't there to fight, but to document the war and broadcast images of the battlefield to the American public back home.

Their short films and newsreels were shown across the country during a time when going to the movies was a weekly occurrence for many and was seen as a source of both news and entertainment.

In his new book Five Came Back, author Mark Harris tells the stories of five directors - John Ford, George Stevens, John Huston, William Wyler and Frank Capra - and how their films shaped the way the American public experienced the war.

Produced by the BBC's Ashley Semler; edited by Marc Allard

Picture This is a series of video features published every Thursday on the BBC News website which illustrate interviews with authors about their new books.

  • 06 Mar 2014
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