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Posts tagged ‘Newsreel’

Bias in the newsreels – part one

The newsreels, since their very early days, had been subjected to severe criticism of their contents.  For much of their history, they were criticised for having a right-wing bias.

In May 1929, an article was published in The New Leader written by a person under the pen name of “Benn”.  He asks “Why not a socialist newsreel ? Read more

“Newsworthiness” and Charlie Drake

In the mid sixties, United Press and British Movietone News parted company from the enterprise known as UPMT.   This was the first British newsfilm agency based in London.  It commenced operations in June 1955.  Its first customer was the B.B.C.

One of the problems that beset the two companies was that they had different interests in terms of news coverage.  Movietone were producing a newsreel twice a week and, where possible, they chose stories that were interesting in terms of what was happening in front of the camera.  They were also aware that certain stories would not be suitable for the reel because of the delay in distribution. Read more

Scoops, pirates and pinching in the newsreels

For some years after I joined British Movietone News in October 1945, I heard stories from older members of the staff about the “Scoops” that had taken place in the early twenties to the mid thirties.

I found a lot of the stories unbelievable but it seems that a number of those stories that I did not believe were, in fact, true.  The big mystery to me is why did they do it ? 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

The British Newsreels’ filming of D-Day

Newsreel cameramen had been at the forefront of the battlegrounds to film the action since the start of the Second World War.  The Movietone cameramen Paul Wyand, Norman Fisher, Jack RamsdenGraham Thompson and Alec Tozer had all seen front-line action.  It was the same with cameramen from the other newsreels.

I state this as a fact because there is all the evidence one needs sitting in the libraries of the newsreels. 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