Watching Movies with the Lights On
I’ve been looking at lots of newsreel material lately for my documentary (untitled) with Paul Duane.
Newsreels are something I’ve paid little attention to at Shadowplay, apart from the clip of Legs Diamond’s girl (still possibly the greatest film ever made) and the one about the filmmaker, Willy Rozier, who challenged a critic to a duel (and won).
Well here’s some France-Actualite-Pathe-Gaumont stuff. Despite the name, these newsreels were German controlled and showed in the cinemas of Vichy France with the lights turned up, to discourage booing during the overtly propagandistic bits.
Here you will see —
Fur coats paraded at a zoo, which seems tactless to say the least.
Hats made from artificial materials, of which more later.
Newspaper hats. Which are excellent, especially if you’re a Womble (and if you are, kindly remember that fact).
Utterly brilliant shoes. Fiona was hyperventilating by this point. A fascist takeover seemed a small price to pay for such footwear.
Cost-saving stockings made from human skin. Not in a gruesome way, mind you.
But speaking of gruesome, about those hats. The work of a collaboration (and the word seems apt in all its resonances) between a Paris designer (who would later be happy that s/he goes unnamed, I bet) and the German chemical company I.G. Farben… manufacturers of, among other things, Zyklon-B gas…
History is a particularly querulous rattlesnake, it bites without provocation and when you least expect it.