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Let's talk newsreels. A much neglected end of the classic film spectrum, but which is rich and rewarding to watch. There is so much history locked up in them, and they were also entertaining.

 

I am interested in the Fox Movietone series, as well as the newsreels of the other majors, both from the silent era and sound. Some of this material is available in compilations, but seldom if ever released en masse, especially on DVD. A lot of newsreel material is still only available on VHS. Much of it is still stuck in archives.

 

German newsreels have a following, because WW2 and the Nazis have an undying cult appeal. I would be interested in the Deutsche Wochenshau films from the "peacetime" period, from 1933-1939. The wartime years are well covered by various video producers.

 

On a weekly basis, newsreel output came to 52 shorts per year. That is a lot of video, and the DVD format is good for storing it.

 

I would like to see old newsreels on TCM, between feature films. Perhaps others could get hooked too!

 

Years ago there was a feature film called "Gizmo" which was a collection of humorous clips from the black and white newsreels from the 30's, with funny narration.

 

Anybody out there have a lead on where some of this can be obtained?

 

Thelma

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That's a very good idea! If TCM hasn't already done this, they should. A Chicago TV station used to show them late night, as filler. Interesting. But they ran the same four or five over and over. I vaguely remember seeing them in theatres. Not regularly. But, apparently, the tradition had not completely been buried. I specifically remember the news of Marilyn Monroe's death. I didn't know who she was!

 

Red River

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Some of the Warner Brothers Signature Collections have a lot of the old newsreels. I was watching some last night on The Humphrey Bogart Signature Collection Volume 2. Each movie has a newsreel, it really brings back memories!

 

Warner Brothers really do a great job on their Golden Age Movies as extras they have Warner Night At The Movies, which consists of a Newsreel, Vintage Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies or Looney Tunes Cartoons, a one reeler and previews. It's just like the old days at the movies.

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Don't forget that newsreel material didn't just deal with hard news; a lot of it was movie star and Hollywood related, thus making some of it very interesting to the TCM audience. Newsreel cameramen routinely covered red-carpet events and also positioned themselves within hot Hollywood night clubs in special press boxes The comings and goings of celebrities received much coverage, and celebs also gave spot interviews. The arrival of Mae West was always news, and she had a natural knack for wisecracking that played well to the newsboys, who were always delighted to put her on camera.

 

Thanks for your vote of support Redriver, I hope others will join in. TCM should find those newsreels in particular, that shed light on Hollywood history and events.

 

Thelma

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I seem to remember TCM showing old newsreels between features some years back. I guess they either made a decision to stop doing this or it became an access issue when they changed hands.

 

There are a lot of them posted on youtube. I sometimes watch them there.

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Checking out Youtube is a good suggestion molo14, thanks.

 

The thing is, that there was such a voluminous amount of these newsreels produced, by a number of studios. It comes to tens of thousands of hours of viewing material, covering a broad range of topics. It cries out for indexing and editorial review by scholars and film historians. Professionals must go through this stuff and find those highlights that are interesting, historically valuable and which fulfill certain topical themes. TCM should commission a review to find from this mountain of material those portions that may be of particular interest to people who are into the "Golden Age of Hollywood".

 

Thelma

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Thelma,

 

UCLA Film and TV Archives have a very large collection of newsreels including the Hearst Metrotone Newsreel Collection. They may have some of Fox's newsreels as well.

 

Sometimes what happens when people or companies or studios donate material to Archives is that they place restrictions on how the material can be used.

 

I'm not saying that is the case here but it does happen more often than we think.

 

It would be great to have all the newsreels digitized, restored and available on DVDs but I suspect that will take an angel with very deep pockets.

 

Here's the link:

 

http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/

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The History International channel, on Saturday mornings, has a show called YEAR BY YEAR, which features highlights of a year in Universal newsreels....unfortunately, for the ones pre- WWII, they substitute the original narration by the likes of Graham Macnamee, with a modern announcer who

hams it up.....

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My warm thanks to exapno and izcutter, as they have furnished the very feedback I was looking for. This stuff is all over the place and you have to diligently dig for it. Maybe when more of us develop a taste for this material, someone will have the incentive to package it better and make it more available.

 

Let us never let up on this. Newsreel material does belong on TCM!

 

Thelma

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ThelmaTodd -

 

I believe The History Channel used to run a one-hour program that was a review of a particular year and used newsreel footage for all the visuals and commentary.

 

I can't remember the exact title for the series but it was something along the lines of "A Year In Review - 19XX" (with the exact year in place of the "XX"s.)

 

I haven't looked at a History Channel schedule lately so I don't know if they still run these "newsreel" programs or series. I think I usually caught them on Saturday mornings.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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