On demand from Warner Archives is this double-feature of two curious B movies made by David O. Selznick’s RKO in 1932. Both are about small multi-ethnic communities that must turn to violence in order to survive a peril from outside their cozy little environment, and as such may be seen possibly as warnings of the rising threat from fascist or militarist expansions in both Europe and Asia.
The first and better film, Men of America, opens with a montage of the settling of the West via bits of stock footage: stagecoaches, Indian attacks, etc. Now the area is settled and the superannuated warriors, both white man and Indian, are nostalgic old duffers who sit around in the general store trading war stories. It’s a farming community, and the farmers include heavily-accented Italian and Chinese immigrants, all working the land and raising families amid good-natured ethnic jokes to underline the trope of the “melting pot”.