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DATE: 1943

LENGTH: 10 min.

CATEGORY: Educational & Instructional, Sound, Black & White

DIRECTOR: Uncredited

PRODUCER/PUBLISHER: Office of War Information, Bureau of Motion Pictures


This film shows how malaria contracted in non-American tropical locations may accidentally spread to the mainland United States. Set in a Southern city in a subtropical region, where a “milder,” “endemic kind” of malaria is often present, the film shows how a soldier who has served in the tropics becomes a vector of infection, and the local conditions that harbor mosquitoes and facilitate the spread of the disease. The goal is to document and encourage public support for measures aimed at prevention and treatment (in the era before DDT came to the fore). The ideological tone is egalitarian and progressive: malarial disease attacks all segments of the public—black and white, children and adults, soldiers and civilians; a mobilized public is the best defense. Most of the film features narration over silent footage, but a few medical scenes—the doctor’s office, the county health office—include some dialogue.

Supplementary Materials

Stills from Soldier from the Tropics

Other Films Featured in the Essay

Explore thirteen films considered in the “Public Health Films Go to War” essay.

In the Collections of the National Library of Medicine

Prints & Photographs Collection

These posters, produced by or for the U.S. military in conjunction with campaigns that also employed films, come from the Prints and Photographs collection of the National Library. Explore these and more from the NLM’s Images in the History of Medicine.

Posted by:Carrissa Lindmark

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