Sunday, May 18, 2014

Elvis Heads To Germany And Mao Takes Over China - Pathé News Footage Archive On Youtube

When I was a kid, when you went to the movies there was typically a newsreel and a cartoon before the movie.  And sometimes, I particularly remember Saturdays, there would  be a short episode of some continuing weekly serial.

A month ago (April 18) Pathé put its collection of 85,000 newsreels onto Youtube.  The ones I looked at have that typical authoritative male announcer voice with the typical music to fit the film.

Pathé's site gives this description of their newsreels:

Created at the beginning of the 20th Century by the Pathé brothers, the newsreel was the world's first televised news platform. Pioneering the technology and methods of cinema, British Pathé stayed at the forefront of filmed news for decades.
Releasing 3 newsreels a week during that period, British Pathé was the way the people of Britain experienced world events until the advent of television. Every one of those thousands of newsreels are now here and available for you to view.

Open Culture gives a little more background on this new online resource:
British Pathé was one of the leading producers of newsreels and documentaries during the 20th Century. This week, the company, now an archive, is turning over its entire collection — over 85,000 historical films – to YouTube.
The archive — which spans from 1896 to 1976 – is a goldmine of footage, containing movies of some of the most important moments of the last 100 years. It’s a treasure trove for film buffs, culture nerds and history mavens everywhere. In Pathé’s playlist “A Day That Shook the World,” which traces an Anglo-centric history of the 20th Century, you will find clips of the Wright Brothers’ first flight, the bombing of Hiroshima and Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, alongside footage of Queen Victoria’s funeral and Roger Bannister’s 4-minute mile. There’s, of course, footage of the dramatic Hindenburg crash and Lindbergh’s daring cross-Atlantic flight. And then you can see King Edward VIII abdicating the throne in 1936Hitler becoming the German Chancellor in 1933 and the eventual Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941 (above).

There's a section called "A Day that Shook History" that seems to be, not from the weekly movie newsreel footage, but a brief overview of events after the fact.  For example the day the Chinese Communists took over China gives a slightly longer time line. It's not clear if these were produced to be shown in movie theaters or what.

This is how people's views of world events were shaped before television.  The newsreels themselves are a little formulaic and stuffy with a definite male and Western bias if you look at them to learn about what happened.  But for a sense of how news was packaged, it's interesting to explore.  And I expect there is a lot of interesting footage and pictures.

Here's a list from the categories pull down menu:
There's Programmes:

And there are photo archives with collections like Nerves of Steel where I got this photo:

From Pathé Photo Collection Nerves of Steel

Have fun exploring - especially in the very extensive WW I - the definitive collection

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