Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on Youtube Join the Archive Mailing List Read our Blog

Preservation funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Packard Humanities Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities

Hearst Metrotone and the Newsreels

Hearst Metrotone and the Newsreels
March 24, 2013 - 7:00 pm
Blaine Bartell, UCLA Film & Television Archive.

In this program we will take a look at the Hearst Metrotone News collection and the newsreels in general. Examples of how newsreels affected and reflected society, and the role they played in American culture will be illustrated, and the issue of faking news footage, a controversy that continues to this day, will be examined. Among the films to be shown are the oldest surviving Hearst produced newsreel story: coverage of a German saboteur bombing a bridge between the U.S. and Canada in 1915. Special attention will be paid to specific newsreel issues produced by Hearst including one from 1936 that features Franklin Roosevelt, Alf Landon, Haile Selassie, Max Schmeling, and Jesse Owens; a line-up of notables strong enough to make any newsreel noteworthy, but what will probably stand out most to contemporary audiences is coverage of the Marbles Championship held in Ocean City, New Jersey, coverage of which was an annual staple in Hearst newsreels. Special note is made that one of the finalists is a girl, but no mention is made of the controversy around the fact that the winner, Leonard Tyner, is African American. A 1937 newsreel containing the famous scene of a lone baby crying in the bombed out ruins of the Shanghai train station (filmed by Hai Sheng “Newsreel” Wong), will also be shown. Arguably the single most influential newsreel in history, it is credited with generating pro-Chinese sympathy within the notoriously isolationist U.S.

TRT: approx. 120 min.

Highlights from the newsreels to be shown include:

Edwin C. Hill Joins Metrotone (excerpt 6-203, October 1934)

A newsreel trailer announcing radio commentator Edwin C. Hill as the new voice of Hearst Metrotone News. 35mm, b/w, 3 min.

Preserved from original nitrate 35mm negative picture and track negatives.

Hearst-Selig News Pictorial (circa 1915):  “Attempts to Destroy International Span at Vanceboro, ME”.

Werner Van Horne is arrested for trying to blow-up a bridge on U.S. border. 35mm, b/w, 3 min.

Preserved from a 35mm print.

News of the Day (Vol. 7, Issue No. 283)

FDR and Alf Landon campaigning, Haile Selassie in Geneva, Max Schmeling in Germany, the Duke and Duchess of Kent’s new baby, and athletes try out for U.S. Olympic team. 35mm, b/w, 9 min.

Preserved from an original nitrate 35mm printing negative and a 35mm composite nitrate projection print. 

News of the Day (Vol. 9, Issue No. 200)

Japan bombs Shanghai, American Legion convention, USC football, FDR tells humorous story, and newly crowned Miss America rejects honor. 35mm, b/w, 10 min.

Preserved from an original nitrate 35mm printing negative and a 35mm composite nitrate projection print.

Laboratory services by The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory, Film Technology Company, Inc., YCM Laboratories. Special thanks to: King Features,Northeast Historic Film.