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Home Video Report: From and About 1944

("Red Tails," a dramatization of the Tuskegee Airmen, stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard.)

(“Red Tails,” a dramatization of the Tuskegee Airmen, stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard.)

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By Bob Nelson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two fascinating home videos are available this week.  One is a 1944 release, and the other is a recent production recalling the challenges and exploits, in the same era, of the United States’ first black military pilots.

The Forties was a time when onscreen couples had to sleep in separate beds, and even the slightest hint of togetherness was forbidden.

However, director Preston Sturges managed to get around the controversial Motion Picture Production Code with lots of innuendo in the racy Betty Hutton flick, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, which tells the story of a young woman who discovers she is pregnant following a night of drinking.

Meanwhile, in 1944 Italy, with the war taking its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a group of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen were given a chance to prove themselves in the sky even as they battled discrimination on the ground.

Red Tails, released in 2012, is a World War II film about the country’s first African-American military pilots, preparing to be shipped overseas.  Two of the stars are Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard.

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