I Dare Say – Thunder and lightning (2-12-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (February 12, 1944)


Thunder and lightning

By Florence Fisher Parry

The first pictures from the Marshall Islands could be “stills” from the motion picture Gung Ho! now showing at the Fulton Theater. This magnificent motion picture, which tells as would some spare and factual newsreel how Makin Island was raided, is to my mind the best informative feature of the war we have had, with the exception of the actual newsreels.

We have learned so much about the war that it has become very hard for us to credit or be impressed by any fiction that Hollywood can manufacture for its screen. Only a few pictures have succeeded in creating the illusion of reality – really to match that which our newsreels and news pictures reveal. Gung Ho! and Guadalcanal Diary are the best of these. They more closely approximate the facts than any others.

True, we have been given some magnificent war films like The Moon Is Down, The North Star, and Mrs. Miniver, but these have been dramatic stories with plot, romance, theatrical situations. They have been screenplays. Personally I much prefer the newsreel technique to any other; and next to that the kind of factual motion picture of which Gung Ho! is such a splendid example.


If you are looking for horror of another kind than that which is contained in war and motion pictures, I can recommend to you a neat little psychopathic novel by Charles Jackson entitled The Lost Weekend.

This is a really terrifying revelation of an alcoholic’s conflict. That this book should command such immediate and unexpected attention at a time when the reading public has no patience with less epic problems than those of world survival is testimony to the novel’s extraordinary power.

Here is a good look to put into the hands of any young man who might be indulging the delusion that he can handle alcohol. It is worth a thousand sermons, a million pledges and a billion vain petitions from well-meaning reformers.

I think that if I were one who found that the habit of drinking was taking slow and subtle hold of me, I should be very likely to be jolted out of the spell by the reading of this book. It is a most compelling and horrifying case history.

And in this connection, I am reminded of the amazing success which that comparatively young organization known as Alcoholics Anonymous is meeting with. Starting with a few reformed drunkards who had been saved by some strange, deep spiritual shock which somehow had the power to redeem them, these men began a quiet little crusade to save their fellow sufferers.

Today, this organization has won the gratitude and recognition of the medical profession to the extent that our hospitals utilize, whenever possible, the assistance of Alcoholics Anonymous. Our penal institutions are benefiting by its increasing numbers among their inmates, and Alcoholics Anonymous now have spread their beneficent work into the homes of thousands of men and women who had counted themselves lost.

Peril in Italy

The realization that the Allied forces in Italy are really being driven back closer to the sea has come as a timely shock, and costly as this tragic stand has been and will be, it could not have been better timed to jolt us from our complacency.

Let us pray that this bitter and costly reverse will put iron in the souls of all of us and bring us to the realization that war is long and can be won only by all-out sacrifice.

Let us have more unsparing pictures of the crumpled dead. Let us be made to look upon atrocity pictures, too. There is nothing so poignant as the grotesque and helpless attitude of death. The picture of one young American boy prostrate upon a lonely beach achieves an eloquence beyond the power of pen or prayer.

It is natural, I suppose, for us to be so caught up with this war that we are not aware of the tremendous forces that have been set in motion lately in our country, forces that can in themselves change the structure of our Republic far more than the outcome of any combat victory or defeat. The fourth term issue, for example, is taking shape with all its deadly implications.

I do not believe that in our entire national history we have been confronted with a more critical choice than that which is now taking shape on our political front.


This is good writing imho.

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