Fox Movietone News collection
Within the collection are elements from two distinct newsreel products. One is a silent newsreel, Fox News, which ran from 1919 into 1930. The other is the original sound newsreel, Fox Movietone News, which ran from 1927 through 1963. The majority of films in the collection are outtakes that were not used by the Fox corporation as part of a released newsreel. The collection does contain over 200 released newsreels from 1942 to 1944.
- Movietonews (Firm) (Creator, Organization)
Additional information about the items in this collection can be found in the MIRC Reference Catalog. Holdings are prefixed MVTN.
For more about this collection, contact curator Dr. Greg Wilsbacher at GREGW@mailbox.sc.edu.
Copyright and Use
11,000,000 feet of film
1920 Linear Feet (Acetate (safety) holdings.)
85 Linear Feet (Paper materials (encompasses dope sheets and card catalog).)
468 Linear Feet (Polyester (preservation) holdings.)
2048 Linear Feet (Nitrate holdings.)
At its height, Fox News (dubbed Fox Movietone News with the advent of sound technology) was perhaps the largest newsreel organization in the world. The Fox Film Corporation produced its first Fox News program in August 1919. By 1922, over 1,000 cameramen worked around the world for Fox News, sending back their camera negative film to the Fox editorial staff in New York.
In 1927, Fox News created the Movietone brand name after purchasing the patent for a synchronized optical sound-on-film system developed by Theodore Case, which solved the long-standing problems with early experiments to record and project sound in synchronization with moving images. While other studios continued to experiment with sound-film synchronization systems as part of their feature film production, Fox opted to record actuality and topical news with its revolutionary new system. Footage of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s departure for Paris on May 20, 1927 was one of Movietone’s first commercial releases. On June 14 of the same year, films featuring President Coolidge receiving Lindbergh at the White House and a speech by Benito Mussolini proved so popular that Fox Movietone News began systematic production of the first sound newsreel series. After that, the “natural sound” Movietone News became standard fare in theaters.
By 1929, Movietone’s cameramen and representatives were operating in thirty international locations, and its newsreels were available in twenty-two languages.
Newsreels would remain a staple of the theater-going experience for another 20 years. With thousands of cameramen working around the world submitting hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of feet of film back to Fox’s New York office each week, the Fox film library grew substantially. Today, the sum of all known Movietone News material is estimated to comprise nearly 4,000 newsreels, 55 million feet of shorts and outtakes, and over six hundred other theatrical short subjects—a total of 10,000 hours of footage (Greevey & Yeck, Our Movie Heritage, 1997).
Immediate Source of Acquisition
"Fox Movietone News: The War Years," a digital collection of selected Fox Movietone films and paperwork, is available through USC Digital Collections: library.sc.edu/digital/collections/mvtnwarfilms.html.
Part of the Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) Repository
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