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American Cinematographers in the Great War 1914-1918

American Cinematographers in the Great War 1914-1918

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American Cinematographers in the Great War 1914-1918

Edited by: Cooper C. Graham, Ron van Dopperen, James W. Castellan

American Cinematographers in the Great War describes the adventures of the pioneering cameramen and the way they managed to film in spite of enormous difficulties.

Publication date: 2014
Total pages: 320
ISBN: 9780 86196 717 9
Price: £ 25.00


Description

World War I gave birth to a new kind of journalist: the film correspondent. From 1914, while the United States was still neutral, newsreel companies and newspapers sent a special group of cinematographers from the United States to record the Great War. These pioneering cameramen, who originally had worked as still photographers and had carried nothing heavier than a Kodak or Graflex, now had to lug their cumbersome film equipment into the trenches. Aside from personal danger at the front, they also risked summary execution as supposed spies while having to deal with military red tape and censorship.


Based on extensive research in European and American archives, American Cinematographers in the Great War describes the adventures of these pioneering cameramen and the way they managed to film in spite of enormous difficulties. Theirs is a story told from two sides: the business interests of American film companies and newspapers that played an important part in producing and exhibiting war films, and the propaganda interests of the European authorities in showing the war in American theatres in the most favourable light.


After the United States entered the war, many of these cameramen received commissions in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where their expertise was crucial to the Signal Corps’ expanding photographic unit as well as the government’s propaganda agency, the Committee on Public Information.

Biography

Cooper C. Graham, now retired as film curator from the Library of Congress, is the author of numerous articles, as well as Leni Riefenstahl’s “Olympia”.

Ron van Dopperen studied history at the University of Utrecht, Holland, where he wrote his academic thesis on the American World War I documentary films.

James W. Castellan is an independent scholar who has done extensive research on cinematographer Wilbur H. Durborough and journalist Oswald Schuette.



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