Projections of America

Hollywood screenwriter Robert Riskin won a 1937 Oscar for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Director Frank Capra was his most frequent collaborator.; King Kong’s Fay Wray was, his wife. Early in WWII, the Office of Strategic Services tapped Riskin to produce a series of short films to counter other countries’ negative stereotypes of Americans. Translated into some 20 languages, Projections of America offered the war-weary French a gentler view of Americans after D-Day. Post-war, the films helped the defeated Germans to see their former enemies as friends. Riskin’s American values reflect his own Jewish, left-leaning principles. For example, Riskin’s films depicted African -Americans not only as liberators in war, but also as full partners in peace. And in Cummington, a small New England town learned to accept German refugees, many of them Jewish.
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