The Marshall Plan Collection

Cecil B. DeMille holds a film camera

A poster by Dutch artist Reijn Dirksen depicting the Marshall Plan countries.

The Marshall Plan films, donated to the Archive by Academy Member Larry Bachmann (1912–2004), comprise a relatively small but important collection of some of the best surviving representatives of unique postwar materials. The collection remained unknown in the Archive’s holding for decades, but the films were rediscovered and properly cataloged in the mid ’90s.

The collection Bachmann donated consisted of over 100 16mm film prints and contained not only films produced under the Marshall Plan’s film unit, but also a number of earlier and even rarer films made by OMGUS, the American military government in Germany.

Because of a 1948 law that prohibited propagandizing American citizens, few Marshall Plan films have ever been seen in the United States. In 1990, Senator John Kerry introduced legislation overturning the ban. In April 2005, the Academy Film Archive co-created, with Sandra Schulberg (whose father Stuart Schulberg had been one of the Chiefs of the Marshall Plan Film Unit) what has become a national tour of four programs of 25 titles, entitled “Selling Democracy.” Thirteen of the films in the series were preserved by the Archive. After the success of the Academy screenings, the series has played in Chicago, Berkeley, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Suggested links for more information about Marshall Plan films:
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