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Movietone News

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Title: Movietone News  
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Subject: Theodore Case, United Press International, C. W. A. Scott, Feng Shou, Burt Reinhardt
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Movietone News

Movietone News is a newsreel that ran from 1928 to 1963 in the United States, and - as British Movietone News - from 1929 to 1979 in the United Kingdom.


A vintage Fox movietone motion picture camera

It evolved from an earlier newsreel established by Fox Films called Fox News which was founded in 1919. It produced silent newsreels.

It is known in the U.S. as Fox Movietone News, produced cinema, sound George Bernard Shaw Talks to Movietone News, released on June 25, 1928.

One of the known early producers of these newsreels was Abraham Harrison also known as Harry, father of notable black and white photographer Dody Weston Thompson who also found a brief career in film making.

An early conductor of the Movietone News orchestra was Harry Lauder II, nephew of entertainer Sir Harry Lauder, who was contracted by the company for eighteen months before William Fox took him to his Hollywood studio. Sir Harry Lauder also appeared in test sound films made at the Fox Studios in New York City during the winter-spring of 1927.

Advertisement from the Blue Mouse Theater announcing the Pacific Coast premiere of The Jazz Singer, and Movietone News
Newspaper ad from a fully equipped theater in Tacoma, Washington, showing The Jazz Singer, on Vitaphone, and a Fox newsreel, on Movietone, together on the same bill.

Advertisement from the Blue Mouse Theater announcing the Pacific Coast premiere of The Jazz Singer, and Movietone News

One installment, Fox Grandeur News, was released on May 26, 1929, in Fox's short-lived widescreen process Grandeur, and shown before the feature film Fox Movietone Follies of 1929.

Hearst Metrotone News initially leased the Case Research Lab patents from William Fox for its sound newsreels. Each of these studios used this system of recording sound film for news items because it was an easily transported single-system of sound-on-film recording.

Fox's first use of recording a news event was on May 20, 1927: Charles Lindbergh's take-off from Roosevelt Field for his historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean was filmed with sound and shown in a New York theater that same night, inspiring Fox to create Movietone News. A regular narrator of the newsreels was broadcaster/journalist Lowell Thomas.

After Fox Films merged with 20th Century Pictures in 1935 to form 20th Century-Fox, the name of Fox Movietone News was shortened to Movietone News.

In Australia, Movietone and Cinesound were competitors for newsreel coverage, but have now combined under the Movietone News name.

Status and licensing

The University of South Carolina Newsfilm Library has a portion of the Fox Movietone newsreel collection. The rest of it is owned and managed by the Fox Film Corporation's corporate successor (and namesake), Fox News Channel. During its early years, Fox News Channel had a weekend show which played the newsreels.

Licensing for Fox Movietone newsreels owned by the University of South Carolina is handled by the Newsfilm Library, while licensing for Fox Movietone News still owned by 21st Century Fox is handled by the British company ITN, as part of its archive, including Fox News Channel, Reuters, Granada and the UK network Channel 4. British Movietone is owned separately by the films' successor-in-interest, operating under the name British Movietonews Ltd. British Movietone is represented by AP Archive in the UK. In the United States, licensing of those newsreels is handled by ABC News.

See also

External links

  • Extensive index and clips from University of South Carolina
  • ITN SOURCE web site
  • Cinesound Movietone web site
  • (1928) at IMDBGeorge Bernard Shaw Talks to Movietone News
  • Two Movietone newsreels from
  • Extensive index and clips from University of South Carolina
  • Clips from University of South Carolina
  • Movietone Records information
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