From time to time we'll catch something on AMC that is preceded by a "News Reel." My children find these fascinating and can't believe that these were a popular item before movies. I explained that it was before the Internet and television in many cases. They just laugh that there was actually a time before television. We were recently watching Disney's, "Bedknobs and Broomsticks." Everything they first learned about the Nazi invasion of Europe they learned here. Inidiana Jones was another movie that gave them another glimpse into that time.
Pacific Medical Supply Salem serves a wide range of ages. We have our young customers who may need mobility and incontinence products, wound care and daily health aids. We also serve people into their 90s that very much remember these news reels as their window into the world beyond the United States.
Newsreels have long since been supplanted by television news, but filmmakers never stopped making advocacy pieces. When director Frank Capra saw Leni Riefenstahl’s notorious pro-Nazi documentary Triumph of the Will, he wrote, “Satan himself couldn’t have devised a more blood-chilling super-spectacle.” Capra responded with Why We Fight, a seven-part, Oscar-winning documentary that put the government’s objectives into terms moviegoers could understand.
Our Baby Boomers may remember more current films that tackled political issues. To some extent all films are political, because all films have a point of view. Movies that deal with perceived injustices—in Spielberg’s case, The Sugarland Express and Amistad—are on some level criticizing a system that allows them to occur. Even Spielberg’s mass-oriented adventures, like the Indiana Jones series, express a points-of-view: Jones, on the surface apolitical, is drawn into battling tyrannical regimes that threaten the American way of life.
On the other hand, setting out with the goal of making political points through film almost never succeeds, as the graveyard of recent Iraq war-related movies shows. A film has to capture the zeitgeist, it has to deliver a message that moviegoers are ready to accept, in order to have an impact of the culture. When it works, as in the phenomenal box-office results for titles as disparate as Iron Man and Avatar, it doesn’t even matter whether the films have artistic merit.
To read the full article on this topic, please visit the Smithosonian Magazine's blog.
Did you know a lot of these archived news items are available for viewing online at archive.org ?