Vicki's mother was, of course, the far-more famous of the pair, though her father's renowned writing credits were on a par. What I didn't realize until very recently, though, when talking with Vicki, was another fascinating part of her father's career.
During WWII, Robert Riskin took a hiatus from his Hollywood screenwriting career to accept the job of heading a film division of the U.S. government's Office of War Information, known as the Bureau of Motion Pictures. He oversaw the writing, production and distribution of a wide range of short movies to be shown in Europe, meant to explain more about what America was. One of them, Hymn of the Nations, was even nominated for an Oscar as Best Short Documentary. (The OWI was the organization that in 1942 created the Voice of America.)
I've been able to track down three of the best-known and most-loved of these short films, most of which had largely been lost to history, but are now online. From time to time, I'll post them, and hopefully I'll be able to find some others.
For starters though, this is that aforementioned Hymn of the Nations, made in 1944 and meant to show the importance of Italians in American life, focusing on the famed conductor Arturo Toscanini. The unidentified narrator is Burgess Meredith, but eventually the core of the film kicks in -- that's Toscanini conducting a piece written in 1860 by Giuseppe Verdi, that featured his La Forza del Destino and the national anthems of various European nations. (Notably, in this version below, the film later was edited around the 25-minute mark to remove The Internationale of our then-ally Russia.)