FORT LEE, Va. (March 1, 2018) -- The Family and MWR Community Library will show a series of films celebrating women every Monday in March, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., in recognition of Women’s History Month.
All four films feature women in the military or other government agencies. Among them are “Never Wave at a WAC” and “Unsung Heroes.” The other two are prominent feature films from 2016 and 2017.
“Never Wave at a WAC” is a comedy released in 1953 and portions of it were filmed at Fort Lee, said Ali Kolleda, Army Women’s Museum archivist.
“It depicts the divorced socialite Jo McBain, played by Rosalind Russell, as she joins the Women’s Army Corps in an effort to be near her new officer boyfriend,” she said. “To ensure authenticity in portraying the Women’s Army Corps, a portion of the movie was filmed at Fort Lee, home of the WAC Training Center.
“Actual members of the corps were used in filming at Fort Lee and even Gen. Omar Bradley had a speaking role,” Kolleda continued. “The WAC Training Center supported the production of the movie, under the directive it should not interfere with training. Leaders hoped it would bolster recruiting efforts.”
The movie plays in one of the galleries at the museum, and Kolleda said she thinks it’s a wonderful choice to honor Women’s History Month.
“Viewers can definitely see the evolution of Army women from the 1950s to today,” she said. “The recruiting efforts in the 50s emphasized the WAC as a means of shaping women into better mothers and wives. The 1950s also emphasized the idea that Army women were from high society and that the Women’s Army Corps gave them the opportunity to travel and experience a wide variety of cultures.
“When compared with Army women today, the viewer can see how much has changed,” continued Kolleda. “Today, female Soldiers are from all backgrounds and the Army emphasizes their merit. The Army focuses on shaping them into better soldiers and teaching them valuable skills. Women have made huge strides.”
This film, along with the others, was chosen to honor women throughout history, said Arnessa Dowell, head librarian.
“I decided to do the film presentations for this month in order to celebrate women in history in honor of Women’s History Month,” said Dowell. “The library has collaborated with the Women’s History Museum in order to spotlight the historical impact of women’s contributions through these film presentations.”
Dowell said she chose these films to show the diverse contributions women have made within the last 70 years to the military and government.
“I hope people attend, not only because it’s educational, but because it’s a fun way to learn something new,” she said. “The library is here to broaden everyone’s scope of reference and appeal to different types of learners. Watching movies is just another way to do that.”