Newsreel

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"Showdown in Vietnam", a February 8, 1965 war propaganda newsreel by Universal Newsreel.

A newsreel is a form of short documentary film, containing news stories and items of topical interest, that was prevalent between the 1910s and the late 1960s. Typically presented in a cinema, newsreels were a source of current affairs, information, and entertainment for millions of moviegoers. Newsreels were typically exhibited preceding a feature film, but there were also dedicated newsreel theaters in many major cities in the 1930s and '40s, [1] and some large city cinemas also included a smaller theaterette where newsreels were screened continuously throughout the day.

Documentary film nonfictional motion picture

A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record. "Documentary" has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries. Documentary films were originally called 'actuality' films and were only a minute or less in length. Over time documentaries have evolved to be longer in length and to include more categories, such as educational, observational, and even 'docufiction'. Documentaries are also educational and often used in schools to teach various principles. Social media platforms such as YouTube, have allowed documentary films to improve the ways the films are distributed and able to educate and broaden the reach of people who receive the information.

News Communication of selected information on current events

News is information about current events. This may be provided through many different media: word of mouth, printing, postal systems, broadcasting, electronic communication, or through the testimony of observers and witnesses to events.

Movie theater Venue, usually a building, for viewing films

A movie theater, cinema, or cinema hall, also known as a picture house or the pictures, is a building that contains an auditorium for viewing films for entertainment. Most, but not all, theaters are commercial operations catering to the general public, who attend by purchasing a ticket. Some movie theaters, however, are operated by non-profit organizations or societies that charge members a membership fee to view films.

Contents

By the end of the 1960s television news broadcasts had supplanted the format. Newsreels are considered significant historical documents, since they are often the only audiovisual record of certain cultural events. [2]

News broadcasting is the medium of broadcasting of various news events and other information via television, radio, or internet in the field of broadcast journalism. The content is usually either produced locally in a radio studio or television studio newsroom, or by a broadcast network. It may also include additional material such as sports coverage weather forecasts, traffic reports, commentary, and other material that the broadcaster feels is relevant to their audience.

History

News cameramen, Washington DC, 1938 News cameramen LOC hec 24719.jpg
News cameramen, Washington DC, 1938

Created in 1911 by Charles Pathé, this form of film was a staple of the typical North American, British, and Commonwealth countries (especially Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), and throughout European cinema programming schedule from the silent era until the 1960s when television news broadcasting completely supplanted its role. The National Film and Sound Archive in Australia holds the Cinesound Movietone Australian Newsreel Collection, a comprehensive collection of 4,000 newsreel films and documentaries representing news stories covering all major events.

Pathé name of various French businesses of the film industry that were founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France

Pathé or Pathé Frères is the name of various French businesses that were founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France starting in 1896. In the early 1900s, Pathé became the world's largest film equipment and production company, as well as a major producer of phonograph records. In 1908, Pathé invented the newsreel that was shown in cinemas prior to a feature film.

North America Continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

The first official British news cinema that only showed newsreels was the Daily Bioscope that opened in London on May 23, 1909. [3] In 1929, William Fox purchased a former Broadway theater called the Embassy (now a visitor center operated by the Times Square Alliance [4] ). He changed the format from a $2 show twice a day to a continuous 25-cent programme, establishing the first newsreel theater in the USA. The idea was such a success that Fox and his backers announced they would start a chain of newsreel theaters across the USA. [5] The newsreels were often accompanied by cartoons or short subjects.

News cinema cinema specialising in short films, shown in a continuous manner, mostly used for news, often in train stations

A news cinema or newsreel theatre is a cinema specialising in short films, shown in a continuous manner. However, despite its name, a news cinema does not necessarily show only cinematographical news (newsreels).

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom, as well as the largest city within the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

William Fox (producer) American film producer

William Fox was a Hungarian-American motion picture executive, who founded the Fox Film Corporation in 1915 and the Fox West Coast Theatres chain in the 1920s. Although he lost control of his movie empire in 1930, his name lives on in the names of various media ventures which are currently owned by Rupert Murdoch, most notably the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News Channel, Fox Corporation, Foxtel, as well as 20th Century Fox now owned by The Walt Disney Company.

In some countries, newsreels generally used music as a background for usually silent on-site film footage. In some countries, the narrator used humorous remarks for light-hearted or non-tragic stories. In the U.S., newsreel series included The March of Time (1935–1951), Pathé News (1910–1956), Paramount News (1927–1957), Fox Movietone News (1928–1963), Hearst Metrotone News (1914–1967), and Universal Newsreel (1929–1967). Pathé News was distributed by RKO Radio Pictures from 1931 to 1947, and then by Warner Brothers from 1947 to 1956.

<i>The March of Time</i> 1935 film

The March of Time is an American short film series sponsored by Time Inc. and shown in movie theaters from 1935 to 1951. It was based on a radio news series broadcast from 1931 to 1945. The "voice" of both series was Westbrook Van Voorhis. Produced and written by Louis de Rochemont and his brother Richard de Rochemont, The March of Time was recognized with an Academy Honorary Award in 1937.

Pathé News British newsreel producer (1910-1970)

Pathé News was a producer of newsreels and documentaries from 1910 until 1970 in the United Kingdom. Its founder, Charles Pathé, was a pioneer of moving pictures in the silent era. The Pathé News archive is known today as British Pathé. Its collection of news film and movies is fully digitised and available online.

Paramount News is the name on the newsreels produced by Paramount Pictures from 1927 to 1957.

An example of a newsreel story is in the film Citizen Kane (1941), which was prepared by RKO's actual newsreel staff. Citizen Kane includes a fictional newsreel "News on the March" that summarizes the life of title character Charles Foster Kane while parodying The March of Time.

<i>Citizen Kane</i> 1941 American drama film directed by Orson Welles

Citizen Kane is a 1941 American mystery drama film by Orson Welles, its producer, co-screenwriter, director and star. The picture was Welles's first feature film. Nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories, it won an Academy Award for Best Writing by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Welles. Considered by many critics, filmmakers, and fans to be the greatest film ever made, Citizen Kane was voted as such in five consecutive British Film Institute Sight & Sound polls of critics, and it topped the American Film Institute's 100 Years ... 100 Movies list in 1998, as well as its 2007 update. Citizen Kane is particularly praised for Gregg Toland's cinematography, Robert Wise's editing, its music, and its narrative structure, all of which have been considered innovative and precedent-setting.

Charles Foster Kane Character in the film "Citizen Kane"

Charles Foster Kane is a fictional character and the subject of Orson Welles' 1941 film Citizen Kane. The character is widely believed to be based on publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Welles played Kane, with Buddy Swan playing Kane as a child. Welles also produced, co-wrote and directed the film.

On August 12, 1949, 120 cinema technicians employed by Associated British Pathé in London went on strike to protest the dismissal of fifteen men on the grounds of redundancy while conciliation under trade union agreements was pending. Their strike lasted through to at least Tuesday August 16, the Tuesday being the last day for production on new newsreels shown on the Thursday. Events of the strike resulted in over three hundred cinemas across Britain having to go without newsreels that week. [6]

Retrospectives

A 1978 Australian film, Newsfront , is a drama about the newsreel business.

Effect of television

On February 16, 1948, NBC launched a ten-minute television program called Camel Newsreel Theatre with John Cameron Swayze that featured newsreels with Swayze doing voiceovers. Also in 1948, the DuMont Television Network launched two short-lived newsreel series, Camera Headlines and I.N.S. Telenews , the latter in cooperation with Hearst's International News Service.

On August 15, 1948, CBS started their evening television news program Douglas Edwards and the News . Later the NBC, CBS, and ABC news shows all produced their own news film. Newsreel cinemas either closed or went to showing continuous programmes of cartoons and short subjects, such as the London Victoria Station News Cinema, later Cartoon Cinema that opened in 1933 and closed in 1981.

In New Zealand, the Weekly Review was "the principal film series produced in the 1940s". [7] The first television news broadcasts in the country, incorporating newsreel footage, began in 1960. [8]

Newsreels died out because technological advances such as electronic news-gathering for television news, introduced in the 1970s, rendered them obsolete. Nonetheless, some countries such as Cuba, Japan, Spain, and Italy continued producing newsreels into the 1980s and 1990s. [9] Newsreel-producing companies excluded television companies from their distribution, but the television companies countered by sending their own camera crews to film news events.

See also

Related Research Articles

The Fox Film Corporation was an American company that produced motion pictures, formed by William Fox on February 1, 1915. It was the corporate successor to his earlier Greater New York Film Rental Company and Box Office Attractions Film Company.

<i>Hindenburg</i> disaster newsreel footage 1937 film

Newsreel footage of the 6 May 1937 Hindenburg disaster, where the zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenburg crashed and burned down, was filmed by several companies.

Movietone News is a newsreel that ran from 1928 to 1963 in the United States. Under the name British Movietone News, it also ran in the United Kingdom from 1929 to 1979.

<i>Television Newsreel</i> television series

Television Newsreel was a British television programme, the first regular news programme to be made in the UK. Produced by the BBC and screened on the BBC Television Service from 1948 to 1954 at 7.30pm, it adapted the traditional cinema newsreel form for the television audience, covering news and current affairs stories as well as quirkier 'human interest' items, sports and cultural events. The programme's opening title sequence, featuring a graphic of the transmission mast at Alexandra Palace with the title revolving around it, became a well-known image of the time. The theme tune was "Girls in Grey" by Charles Williams and played by the Queen's Hall Light Orchestra. It was published by Chappell on one of its mood music records - it was not specifically written for the newsreel but composed during World War Two for the Women's Junior Air Corps.

The UCLA Film & Television Archive is an internationally renowned visual arts organization focused on the preservation, study, and appreciation of film and television, based at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). It holds more than 220,000 film and television titles and 27 million feet of newsreel footage, a collection second only to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. It has more media materials than any other university in the world.

Universal Newsreel was a series of 7- to 10-minute newsreels that were released twice a week between 1929 and 1967 by Universal Studios. A Universal publicity official, Sam B. Jacobson, was involved in originating and producing the newsreels. Nearly all of them were filmed in black-and-white, and many were narrated by Ed Herlihy. From January 1919 to July 1929, Universal released International Newsreel, produced by Hearst's International News Service—this series later became Hearst Metrotone News released first by Fox Film Corporation 1929–1934 and then by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer beginning in 1934.

The Pacific Film Unit was established in Wellington, New Zealand in 1948 by ex-National Film Unit staff Alun Falconer and Roger Mirams. At this time most films produced in New Zealand were documentaries made by the government’s National Film Unit. In 1950 John O'Shea joined; Falconer left to pursue a career in China; and the company changed its name to Pacific Film Productions Ltd.

Dr. Diongu Badaturuge Nihalsingha was an accomplished Sri Lankan film director, cinematographer, editor, producer. He was noted for his versatility : as a film cameraman, as a film director, as a (pioneering) television director, as an administrator, and as a teacher. He is a pioneer who introduced professional television production to Sri Lanka, commencing with Sri Lanka's and South Asia's first color teledrama, Dimuthu Muthu. He was the founding Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Sri Lanka's National Film Corporation and a distinguished alumni of the then University of Ceylon, Peradeniya. He is the only Sri Lankan who has been conferred Life Fellowship of the Society of Motion picture and Television Engineers USA, the oldest film organisation in the world, established in 1915. The Society determines film and television standards worldwide.

British Universities Film & Video Council

The British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) is a representative body promoting the production, study and use of moving image, sound and related media for learning and research. It is a company limited by guarantee, with charity status, serving schools, colleges and post compulsory education interests in the UK.

<i>Hearst Metrotone News</i>

Hearst Metrotone News was a newsreel series (1914–1967) produced by the Hearst Corporation, founded by William Randolph Hearst.

John Stepan Zamecnik was an American composer and conductor. He is best known for the "photoplay music" he composed for use during silent films by pianists, organists, and orchestras.

Fox News (1919–1930) newsreel established by William Fox

Fox News was the original newsreel established by movie mogul, William Fox. It was eventually replaced by Fox's pioneering sound newsreel, Fox Movietone News, which began regular operations in December 1927.

Around the World in Seven Minutes and Four Times on Saturday is a British television documentary produced by Robert Sidaway, telling the story of the rivalry between the cinema newsreels Pathé News and Movietone News.

References

  1. King, Barrie, Newsreels, Oz Film, Culture and Communication Reading Room, Murdoch University
  2. Australian Screen: Cine sound Movie tone Australian Newsreel Collection (1929 - 1975)
  3. p. 56 Popple Simon & Kember, Joe Early Cinema: From Factory Gate to Dream Factory Wallflower Press 2004
  4. Times Square Alliance Business Improvement District Archived March 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Embassy Theater
  5. "Newsreel Theater". Time magazine . November 18, 1929. Retrieved October 31, 2008. The six or seven minutes of newsreel exhibited in ordinary program houses are selected from many reels of current events. Nowhere could one be sure of seeing all the newsreels made in any one week. In Manhattan, William Fox, in collaboration with Hearst Metro tone, found what to do with the newsreels discarded weekly by their companies. He took over a Broadway theater (Embassy) and changed its program from a $2 show twice a day to a continuous 25¢ show. He made the program all newsreels, to run for an hour, a full photographic report of the pictorial parts of the week's news.
  6. "No Newsreels in 300 Cinemas: Technicians On Strike". The Glasgow Herald . August 17, 1949. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  7. "Weekly Review | Series | Short Film | NZ On Screen". www.nzonscreen.com. NZ On Screen. Retrieved March 21, 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. "Early evening news on TV - Television in New Zealand | NZHistory, New Zealand history online". nzhistory.govt.nz. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  9. "Original Negative of the Noticiero ICAIC Lationamericano". Archived from the original on November 12, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2010.

Further reading