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Posts from the ‘1930s’ Category

Terence Gallacher 1928 – 2014

Terence Michael Gallacher died on the 3rd October 2014, almost 69 years to the day he entered British Movietone News for the first time in 1945, he was eighty five. Read more

Podcast: The Movietone Years – episode forty three

“Movietone cameraman Paul Wyand” – part two

Paul Wyand was a legendary newsreel cameraman for British Movietone News, he was the author of the book, “Useless if Delayed” published in 1959.  Part two of the podcast recalls his career after the end of the Second World War, filming the Coronation, and the feature length documentary Flight Of The White Heron, working with Orson Welles and his move from cameraman to being Assignments Manager and later Production Manager.

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Podcast: The Movietone Years – episode forty two

“Movietone cameraman Paul Wyand” – part one

Paul Wyand was a legendary newsreel cameraman for British Movietone News, he was the author of the book, “Useless if Delayed” published in 1959.  Part one of the podcast recalls his career up to the end of the Second World War.

Read more

Criticism of the Newsreels

The newsreels have been criticised from the day they started until the present day. Over the years, they have been accused of being flippant, incompetent and right wing biased, among other things.

The following is not a chronology of all the complaints, but a selection of the most notable. Read more

The National News: The forgotten newsreel

In the summer of 1937, there must have been some considerable discontent with the newsreels.  A group of people with backgrounds within the film industry in general and the newsreels in particular decided that, with high ambition, they could produce the perfect newsreel. Read more

Censorship in the newsreels

Throughout their fifty-year operating period, Movietonews was never censored.  In fact, no newsreel was censored from the time of their introduction in the early years of the twentieth century.

This did not mean that they were not subject to criticism for the contents of the reels. The newsreels seemed to have had a dissenting voice against them and almost anything they did. Read more

Cameraman tales: The Downing Street Scoop

Sometimes the occurrence of a news story is known in advance.  These stories include a doorstep statement by the Prime Minister or the appearance of the Chancellor of the Exchequer outside No. 11 on Budget Day.  For such events, the Media turn up in force.

So it was in the late thirties. Read more

The British Movietone News Theatre London

Movietonews opened a News Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in August 1930.  It was a converted theatre previously known as the Avenue Pavillion.  It was said the time, that the theatre attracted huge crowds on the first day and continued to play to large audiences for many years .

The audience were attracted first by the fact that it was showing a sound newsreel, and second by the fact that the show lasted less than one hour.  Movietonews’ advertising slogan was “Round the world in Fifty Minutes”. Read more

The Movietone commentators

As the office boy, I did not have to run many errands for people in Movietonews. It wasn’t that sort of firm.  However, from time to time, I was happy to oblige.

In early 1946, we still had rationing and, although cigarettes were never rationed, they had been, and still were, difficult to get. If a West-end tobacconist got a consignment of popular brands, they would be sold out in minutes. Read more

“This is a movie that ends in the middle…”

In the thirties, forties and fifties, there was always visual entertainment available in the cinemas.  In Tottenham and Edmonton in London, we had a number of cinemas at our disposal.

There was the Tottenham Palace, which was almost opposite Chestnut Road, Tottenham, which had, originally, been a theatre from 1908 and a cinema from 1926. Read more