Mass being offered before the battle of Iwo Jima


I’ve seen this before and am fairly sure that it’s of a later vintage than Iwo Jima (a battle in which my father participated). It’s extremely unlikely that someone would have had color film at the time.

This is from the video description…

United States LST-782 off the coast of Iwo Jima, Japan during World War II. A catholic Chaplain conducts a mass aboard LST-782 (Landing Ship Tank). Congregation in the background. Chaplain says the mass. Chaplain conducts prayers. Holy communion being served to the sailors aboard the LST. Chaplain at altar as he prays and sailors in the background. Location: Pacific Ocean. Date: February 12, 1945.

could be colorized


It’s not colorized. Critical Past, the website that has this clip and other WWII Catholic Mass clips for sale, gets most of its footage from US Government sources. There’s actually a ton of Technicolor WWII footage on there.
There were Technicolor documentary newsreels being filmed, probably by or at the behest of the US Government, in and around Iwo Jima - some of the documentaries are also available on the Critical Past site.

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I think I have seen this before in black and
white. So maybe it was colorized.

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The John Wayne film, “The Sands of Iwo Jima” was a black and white picture. This is different, it isn’t hollywood.

I didn’t say it was Hollywood. And I didn’t confuse it with the John Wayne film.

Interesting. Good find.

Technicolor predates the war.

Wizard of Oz, for example, was 1939.

There were also other color technologies.

All forms of color photography were significantly more expensive than B&W, so it took decades before it came the norm.

BTW, the silver slippers in Wizard of Oz were replaced with Ruby specifically to show off technicolor. (Which is a pity, as the silver was important in the monetary allegory, but . . .)(


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FWIW, there’s a fair amount of U.S. Navy color film that was shot during World War Two. (Catholic) John Ford, the famous film director, served in the film branch of the Navy during the war and some effort was expended getting some pretty good color films.

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Yeah, my uncle is featured in the John Ford “Lost Squadron” footage.

I like seeing how simple the vestments could have been back in the day. No consideration of anything other than kneeling and receiving on the tongue and even the trouble of some plate or something found to be used as a paten so not one morsel of the Blessed Sacrament might fall. And I guarantee you the priest is facing east. Just the little things that are totally overlooked today. Look at how many are in attendance! These people and their families were put through rationing, were drafted, and fought a war they didn’t want to because it was the right thing to do as a Christian people, a reminder often coming out of the mouth of the Presidents at the time. Many disciplines they had are sorely lacking from us today.

Well, to be fair, there’s probably not much else to do on a ship…

I am sure they realized the danger they would be facing. They were not on a cruise.
It looked like they were in rough waters as well.

what exactly is the issue here?

is the film:




a hollywood reproduction of a portion of a catholic mass?

the battle of iwo jima was one of the most savage fights in wwii; many of the “boys” in that 'film" most likely met early graves


Kind of tough to “guarantee” on a warship headed to battle. They tend to turn, sometimes suddenly. . . :grinning:

I suspect they had to settle for “liturgical east” . . .



All color film was for the war effort. John Ford filmed war newsreels in color.

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I have dived on a few American LST’s in the South Pacific. We have at least two in the bay less than a kilometre away from where I am now. I have heard them referred to as Long Slow Targets because they were Landing Ships filled with men and heavy equipment such as tanks and bulldozers.

They didn’t have many defences if they were in range of enemy fire. They were needed to create a beach-head of soldiers in enemy held territory.

If you were a soldier, you wanted to be on a different ship. All enemy fire wanted to take these ships out first as these were the invasion ships. God bless the men in the video.

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