RVOD082 Women in Blue

(1940s-ish, Newsreel/Short, b&w)


Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

Rosie the Riveter’s sister Doris the Deck-Swabber.

Rating: **1/2

In a Nutshell:

Women join the navy during World War II.


The Devil had to go home out of embarrassment after showing up in the same outfit.The Great Man Shortage of World War II meant that women could join the navy in greater numbers. We see them sign up, tidy their barracks and do some sort of jazz dance ballet calisthenics before they get right down to the business of sitting around in class. They march in formation. Near the end, we actually get to see them work—code-breaking and machining mainly, though they also ratchet away on navy planes.


Not much to say about this one, except that war is, indeed, an equalizer. It was a unique time in our nation’s history, when the navy needed able-bodied men enough to overlook the fact that some of them were women. We may snigger at it in retrospect, but women today probably wouldn’t have the opportunities they have now if their mothers and grandmothers hadn’t joined the armed forces to clean and type and march for miles in high heels.

A few of my favorite comments: When the narrator says, “Now they’re in the navy!” Kevin adds, “Well, technically.” When the narrator goes over all the minute rules for comportment and hygiene while the navy ladies clean and change in their barracks, Bill speculates, “Even sexy pillow fights are tightly regulated.” As the ladies stomp across the yard in their heels, Mike sings, “I don’t know, but I’ve been told / Quiet dear, the men are talking.” It’s a decent, solid short. Not special but not boring either.