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Posts from the ‘British Movietonews’ Category

Movietone at War: Martin Gray at Stalag X1B

Movietone‘s sound crew of Paul Wyand and Martin Gray had spent a year and a month in the front line of the Italian Campaign.  They were driving their camera car throughout the period.   It was a Humber Imperial.  It had been purchased after Movietone lost two cars in the evacuation of British forces from Northern France.   It was second hand and was   purchased from a retired admiral who had kept it in pristine condition.  With all their equipment on board, it weighed two tons. Read more

Movietone at War: Conscription and reserved occupations

Early July 1939 and the Association of Cine Technicians received notification from the Government about reserved occupations within the film industry.

The A.C.T. published the information as follows:

Members should note the contents of the following letter A.C.T. has received from the Ministry of Labour.

“I am directed by the Ministry of Labour to refer to your letter of the subject of the Provisional Schedule of Reserved Occupations.  A decision was reached to reserve the following occupations at the ages stated.

Read more

Movietone at War: filming the surrender at Lüneburg Heath

Movietone cameraman Paul Wyand and soundman Martin Gray moved on to Lüneburg Heath.  Luneberg had been captured by Montgomery’s forces on April 18th 1945, and was now the headquarters of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

Paul had met him in Italy where Monty had refused to allow Paul to use his sound camera, but here it seemed that Monty wanted to say a few words and have them recorded. Read more

Movietone at war: mind what you say

Movietone News have been accused of giving way to the influence of their American part owners. I have written elsewhere that British Movietonews were not influenced in their output by Fox Movietonews in New York or 20th Century Fox.  I have recently discovered that this is not so.  The following account is probably the only time they expressed an opinion concerning the Movietone News commentary. Read more

Colleagues: Jack Ramsden

Jack Ramsden was born in Blackpool around 1902.  He became involved in camerawork at an early age.  I was once told that he was one of the people who would film local events, process and edit the film and show it to the locals the same night.  This type of film making had been developed by the pioneers, before the first World War, especially in the north of England. Read more

Movietone at War: Movietone’s camera cars

Although the Munich Agreement had been signed late September, 1938, preparations for war were underway – Movietone had already filmed the preparation of the removal of children from London, the issuing of gas masks, rehearsals for the deployment of barrage balloons and Home Defence exercises and the building of Spitfires.

In early December 1938, Movietone showed off their new acquisitions in the form of camera cars. Read more

Movietone at War: “Will you kindly leave him alone please ?”

Paul Wyand was Movietone’s chief cameraman.   He was a cameraman, with Movietone, for thirty years and during that time he had more than his fair share of “tales”. Read more

Movietone staff on film

While we can access library footage from, we cannot share the footage on this website as you need to register to view any clips.  Thankfully two pieces have been uploaded to youtube, from 1946 and 1958.  Both feature British Movietone News staff, probably for promotional purposes, in some cases it might be the only time Movietone staff have been captured on film. Read more

Colleagues: Bunny Hutchins – Movietone

John “Bunny” Hutchins was born in London, 28th October 1878.  At the age of eighteen he started work in the film industry.  He was a pioneer.   He worked as a cameraman, projectionist and as a laboratory assistant.

After working with a number of companies, he became one of the early newsreel cameramen when he joined Barker Motion Photography.  He covered the Coronation of King George V and the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1911.  Soon after he left Barker and joined Williamson’s Animated News upon its launch in May 1913.  He was to become “Chief Camera Operator to Éclair Journal”. Read more

Bias in the newsreels – part two

For part one of “Bias in the newsreels” click here.

In July 1945, the Cinema Exhibitors Association adopted a report from its Legal, Finance and Parliamentary Committee which stated that “The Committee was satisfied that the adoption by the newsreel companies of the same system as the BBC in connection with General Elections in an attempt to ensure impartiality for all political parties by taking all party politicians in turn was a mistake.  In future General Elections the newsreels should only give topical news”. Read more